Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Calorie Counter

PostedJuly 27, 2014

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lead: Want to stop counting and calculating calories on food labels? Soon there might be a way to simply measure them on your plate.

Randy Atkins: Matt Webster’s wife told him she didn’t want in an activity monitor to estimate calories burned…she wanted to know exactly how many she ate at each meal. So the G-E researcher started crunching numbers from food databases…

Matt Webster: …and came up with an equation that very accurately gives you a calorie content…

Randy Atkins: …on a specific plate serving. Webster says you just need to know the food’s weight, along with the amount of water and fat present. And luckily…

Matt Webster: …microwaves interact differently with those.

Randy Atkins: So Webster is shooting low-power microwaves through blended food and detecting how they change on the other side. He says his technique is at least as accurate as food labels...

Matt Webster: If we just engineer sensors so that we have a uniform measurement area about the size of a plate, then I think we’re good.

Randy Atkins: …and a stand-alone calorie counter could be available in three years. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.