GOOD

Google Wants to Use Your Instagram Brunch Pics to Count Calories

A well-composed picture of your meal could someday be the key to eating healthier.

image via (cc) flickr user bittermelon

We may be on the cusp of a culinary revolution. No, not in terms of how we prepare, cook, and eat our meals. Not even in terms of local sourcing, or ethical farming conditions.


I’m talking about food photography.

During a session titled “Semantic Image Segmentation Using Deep Learning & Graphical Models” at RE.WORK’s recent Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Google researcher Kevin Murphy presented a tantalizing glimpse at what might be the future of Instagrammed brunches: Artificial intelligence calorie-counting.

The experimental system, dubbed “Im2Calories,” relies on a combination of sophisticated pixel analysis, software, and the search giant’s deep library of data. The result is an app that can, ostensibly, scan a photo of food and determine not only what it is, but how much of it there is. Using that data, Im2Calories can then extrapolate a rough calorie estimate of everything you’re about to eat. The more the system is used, the more accurate it gets as its database fills with newer, more varied food imagery. Practically speaking, Im2Calories’s technology will remove manual input and guesswork from health-tracking software, instead allowing users to simply snap a picture of their meal, adjust as necessary (the program is still very much experimental), and let that image fill in the requisite data itself.

Google doesn’t necessarily have the best track record when it comes to lifestyle products and services (think: Google Glass, Google Plus, Google Wave, etc), but having recently submitted a patent for the technology behind Im2Calories, the company could theoretically find themselves the only game in town when it comes to the commercial application of this type of auto-analysis tech. Medical Daily points out that, in its current stage, Im2Calories works best with low-res images (which are easier to analyze, pixel-wise) although Google plans to expand the technology to accommodate higher resolution photographs.

And food is just the beginning. As Murphy explained to Popular Science:

“If we can do this for food, that's just the killer app. Suppose we did street scene analysis. We don't want to just say there are cars in this intersection. That's boring. We want to do things like localize cars, count the cars, get attributes of the cars, which way are they facing. Then we can do things like traffic scene analysis, predict where the most likely parking spot is. And since this is all learned from data, the technology is the same, you just change the data.”

For the time being, Im2Calories seems to still be in the experimental “we may never actually see it in the wild” stage. Still, if it—or something like it—makes it to market, high-res food porn could one day become an indispensable tool for healthy eating.

[via medical daily]

Articles
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change means our future is uncertain, but in the meantime, it's telling us a lot about our past. The Earth's glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, but as the ice dwindles, ancient artifacts are being uncovered. The Secrets of the Ice project has been surveying the glaciers on Norway's highest mountains in Oppland since 2011. They have found a slew of treasures, frozen in time and ice, making glacier archeologists, as Lars Pilø, co-director of Secrets of the Ice, put it when talking to CNN, the "unlikely beneficiaries of global warming."

Instead of digging, glacier archeologists survey the areas of melting ice, seeing which artifacts have been revealed by the thaw. "It's a very different world from regular archaeological sites," Pilø told National Geographic. "It's really rewarding work.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture