New Device Laser Scans Food, Counts Calories, & Looks Like ‘Star Wars’ Weapon

Tina Rivera
(Photo: Univ. of Washington)

Good news for lazy people everywhere who love food!

Electrical engineers at the University of Washington have unleashed a prototype for a handheld device that laser scans your food and sums up the calories it contains, so you don’t have to.

The NutriRay3D, which looks like a gizmo straight outta Star Wars, is said to have a 91 percent accuracy rate and uses laser-guided mapping technology to three-dimensionally scan the grub off your plate. The portable device, which is supplemented by an app, simply attaches to your smartphone and calculates the calories and nutritional value of your food.

While the fancy 3D laser can identify many basic foods based on physical appearance, there is no way it will be able to classify a bowl of your grandma’s kimchi fried rice. In those instances, users can speak into the phone’s mic to properly list the ingredients. Once the app knows what’s in the bowl, it will consult a database with over 9,000 foods to accurately calculate its caloric content. 

The NutriRay3D app is currently compatible with Android and Windows phones, and the team responsible for the device launched an IndieGoGo campaign (which has been temporarily pulled to address a few issues) in hopes of raising enough funds for an iOS version. 

If the crowdfunding campaign is successful, the team at the University of Washington aims to price the consumer product between $150 and $200 and have it released by the end of the year. 

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