Using Your Smartphone Camera To Count Calories

We’ve come across a service by NTT Communications tentatively called “Health Enhancement Assist Service” [J], which unlike its name, is an incredibly interesting little innovation in the world of health management apps and web services. The smartphone app / web service allows people to keep track of their daily diet via their smartphone cameras, an extremely relevant innovation in a country where taking photos of your meal pre-feasting and sharing them on blogs or twitter is an everyday ritual. Simply take a photo of your food and upload it to the service, and the “Health Enhancement Assist Service” will not only help keep track of the things you eat, but it will even analyze and report back to you the amount of calories in your meal. The image analysis method is being developed by University of Tokyo researchers and FoodLog (patent pending), and it is now able to recognize many different types of foods.

Beyond what you eat, the service incorporates other trackers to help maintain a healthy lifestyle including a pedometer through the smartphone’s GPS functionality, a weight/height tracker, instructional exercise content developed by mega-gym chain Tipness, and a recipe book by Lively Networking with over 5000 recipes – all accessible via smartphone. Of course the service can be hooked up to your Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to gloat about your obsessively healthy lifestyle to all of your friends.
Users can login via any NTT account, or your Google, Mixi, or Yahoo! Japan OpenIDs. The app is currently accessible through PC and Android, with an iPhone app to be released in March.

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