Unless you’ve been living in a cave these past few years, and possibly even then, you know about Instagram, the popular online vehicle for photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking that enables its users to take pictures and videos and share them on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Now, if Google has its way you will soon be able to use Instagram to calculate the calories in pictures of food you post on the social media site.
A new Google experimental app called Im2Calories, announced at the recent Rework Deep Learning Summit in Boston, relies on image-processing technology to tell you how many calories you're consuming. Im2Calories will spot the individual items on your plate, determine what the foods are and create a calorie count based on the nutritional information available for what you will be eating. In cases where it guesses incorrectly, you’ll be able to correct the program and in this way improve the dietary tool’s accuracy over time.
Kevin Murphy, who works with Google's research lab and specializes in artificial intelligence explained that the AI technology will analyze the depth of pixels in an image and employ “sophisticated deep-learning algorithms” to judge the size and shape of a food item and develop a calorie count. According to Google, Im2Calories and the algorithms that run it are still at the research stage and that there are no product plans at this time. Google also indicated that the AI behind Im2Calories also could be applied to examining traffic patterns or parking facilities to help drivers find a parking spot.