Lose it unveils Snap it, an app that counts calories
Lose it unveils Snap it, an app that counts calories. Image credit: Scott Briscoe.

A weight loss app has just introduced an innovative way to count calories. The ‘Lose It!’ app for Android and iOS devices recently launched a beta version of its new ‘Snap It’ feature, allowing users to take pictures of their food and instantly get an estimate of the meal’s calorie count.

The fun photo feature is a significant deviation from usual food tracking methods like barcode scanning and manual inputs. There are thousands of fitness and health applications on the official mobile stores, but only a handful make it easy for users to keep track of what they are eating.

‘Lose It!’ also bets on the permanence of mobile applications at a time when wearable fitness trackers seem to be the trend. The past couple of months, people have seen the market flooded with new devices from several companies like Apple, TomTom, Samsung, and more.

How does the ‘Snap It’ work?

Snap it feeds on the information users input, and it gets smarter with every entry. In other words, the more people submit in pictures of their food with detailed descriptions, the more accurate results the app will provide.

Weightwatchers are prompted to choose one of four options: breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. Then, they open the cam from within the app and take a picture. Right now, the app is not accurate because it is the beta version.

The imaging step is the tricky par. First, the app recognizes only served food. It means that if you have a snack that comes in a bag, taking a picture of the bag may prompt a result that is not even remotely near the actual meal.

Second, users must manually specify the contents of the dish. While ‘Snap It’ may recognize a bowl of chicken and rice, the actual dish may contain more elements that make it differ from regular plain chicken and rice.

Third, the results may not be all that accurate. ‘Lose It!’ works with the Food 101 dataset as its base, a category system of 101 food tiers and over 100,000 pictures to go with it. Calorie count estimates are fairly accurate, with app developers placing it between the 87% and 97 accuracy range.

“Snap It is going to give us the opportunity to reach a whole new set of users that may have found tracking frustrating or might’ve never even tried it because it seemed too time consuming. When tracking is a simple as snapping a picture, it becomes accessible to nearly everyone,” said ‘Lose It!’ CEO Charles Teague.

The ‘Lose It!’ app with the beta version of ‘Snap It’ is readily available for free download at the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

Source: Engadget