When it comes to gadgets that promise to help us lose weight, most of us keep one eyebrow raised. It’s not that we’re cynical – we just know that there’s no easy answer to losing weight – and keeping it off. But having said that, there’s some remarkable technology out there that just might be able to help you manage your weight.
Midlands based entrepreneur – and self-confessed techie, Tim Vryenhoef – shares his thoughts and insights on how future technologies could shape the way we diet forever.
Tim is co-founder and MD of Nutracheck, the UK’s top rated calorie tracker App. He says the best part of his job is looking ahead to see how new technology is being adapted to suit the ever changing and highly competitive diet and weight loss industry. You don’t get the glory of being ‘top rated’ without being good at what you do – and keeping an eye on the future.
Supermarket AR: make easy choices based on your personal diet preferences:
“Were on the cusp of some incredible breakthroughs with augmented reality to help people make smarter, more informed food choices. A trip to the supermarket isn’t most people’s idea of fun – we’re faced with mind-boggling choice and inconsistent health and nutrition information on packaging – it’s data overload.
“We want shoppers to be in a position to make quicker, healthier choices. Take breakfast cereals, for example: there are upwards of 100 different cereals on offer, and it’s hard to compare like-for-like when packaging information can differ between brands. By simply pointing a phone camera at the cereal aisle, the viewfinder will superimpose coloured halos around the healthiest products ranked from ‘green’ to ‘red’, based on either a particular nutrient such as sugar, or based on a pre-set diet, eg healthy heart. This would allow the shopper to see at a glance what product best suits them.”
Meet ‘Alixia’: your personal diet coach:
“We’re also keen to make weight loss and weight management more fun and interactive, and we can turn to artificial intelligence for this. On a traditional diet, there’s not much ‘fun’ and it can be quite a solitary journey. There’s definitely a role for a virtual ‘diet coach’ to motivate and support, with feedback based on the food diary entries you’re making.
“How incredible would it be to be able to have a ‘diet chat’ with ‘Alixia’, to receive specific hints and tips throughout the day based on what you’ve been eating? It’s what you do with friends, so why not make technology your friend.”
Make machine learning your impartial ‘friend’: using cameras to monitor what – and when – we eat.
“Voice and facial recognition is becoming ever more mainstream in our homes and on our phones. It’s soon going to be possible for camera pods coupled with information – such as your supermarket shopping lists – to automatically monitor when and what you’re eating passively without any user intervention. Recording food intake visually will remove the gaps and guesswork associated with self-reporting and will provide a much bigger picture of overall food intake. Like an impartial friend keeping an eye on you 24/7. Even reporting on the number of coffees consumed at work would be an eye-opener for some of us.”
Virtual Reality Restaurant Menu – makes eating out easy!
“Simply hold your phone’s camera over a restaurant menu and the phone will overlay all the nutritional data for items on the menu by referencing a central database of nutrition information.”
Added Tim: “We’re trying to make weight loss and weight management more fun, motivating and time saving and we need to keep pace with the enormous amount of new opportunities out there. I’m a geek at heart! The latest tech developments promise a new wave of tech-enabled dieting, and it’s my job to ensure we’re giving people what they want in the technology sector they prefer – which is most definitely on mobile devices.
“The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy, reduced calorie controlled diet and to exercise regularly. So any tech that encourages people to make better food choices – and simplifies the process – should be a great step forward.”
Nutracheck already works with NHS Choices to provide the database for the new calorie counter tool for their website www.nhs.uk to make people more aware of their food choices and calorie content.
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About Nutracheck: www.nutracheck.co.uk
- Nutracheck was founded by Tim Vryenhoef, Rachel Hartley and Paul Cookson in 2005. It is based in Nottingham.
- Nutracheck.co.uk is an innovative, multi-award winning calorie tracker App and website for weight loss. It was the UK’s first combined mobile and online diet.
- Nutracheck offers the UK’s widest food database of over 225,000 products with unique picture search.
For more info, or to speak to Tim, please call +44 (0)7968 049528