Food Scanning Technology May Change The Way We Eat
From the drastic rise in people who suffer from obesity and diabetes, to those with severe food allergies, to health-conscious dieters, there is no denying how much food, and the ingredients in the food we eat, impacts the lives of people more than ever before. Ingredient lists of food items are usually long and nearly incomprehensible, and technological advancements in the way food is processed make it nearly impossible to determine exactly what we consume each and every day.
Most health experts and food advocates, such as journalist Michael Pollan, promote a back-to-basics, made-from-scratch approach to your diet in order to alleviate most modern day food woes. However the solution, whether it be losing weight or avoiding allergens, is not so simple as just eating natural, fresh ingredients. Technology, in fact, might be part of the solution.
Canada’s TellSpec and Israel’s SCiO have developed innovative smartphone app scanning technology that is capable of identifying the molecular makeup – including calories, macronutrients, toxins, allergens etc. – of food.
This technology is impressive by itself, both for food labeling transparency as well as for individuals, such as those with severe allergies, who need to avoid certain ingredients that are not obviously included in foods. However, the only way this technology will truly impact the future of healthcare and consumers is if it can be linked to wearable tracking devices.
Implanted tracking devices such as HealthPatch MD have the potential to drastically reduce healthcare costs. Doctors are able to actively track and monitor patients’ internal data (heart rate, temperature, etc), and thus recognize and prevent certain illnesses and health crises from happening.
A similar device that could be connected with a food scanner could reap monumental benefits in helping people avoid certain foods. Both patients and doctors could monitor what is happening within a patient’s body, and then use the food scanner to determine specifically what products it is okay for that patient to consume.
The problem is simply creating such a game-changing device for an everyday consumer audience. Applied science experts are highly skeptical about the performance and functionality of SCiO and TellSpec’s devices.
This sort of food scanning technology is certainly possible. However, making the scanner small and portable in order to appeal to a mass audience, and not just those in the medical field, means potentially sacrificing the quality and accuracy of this scanning technology.
While this enhanced use of food tracking devices is not quite ready to be marketed to consumers, SCiO and TellSpec’s advancements in healthcare technology are exciting and innovative to say the least. In today’s digital world ruled by smartphones and trendy apps, food tracking devices could very well have a big part in affecting people’s eating habits and overall health in the near future.