Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Calorie Counter

PostedAugust 16, 2015

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 an activity monitor to estimate calories burned…she wanted to know exactly how many she ate at each meal. So the GE 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.