Voice as a Diet Aid

Sarnoff, a provider of vision, video, and semiconductor technology, has teamed up with Viocare Technologies, a provider of nutritional research technologies, to develop a new mobile phone-based dietary assessment tool for the National Institutes of Health’s Genes, Environment and Health Initiative (GEI).

The tool, called the Mobile Food Intake Visualization and Voice Recognizer (FIVR), uses a mobile phone to help measure a meal’s nutritional content. The innovative system uses a combination of photographs and speech recognition to identify the food and produce an estimate of the calories an individual will be consuming. The development of this technology is one of the first projects that will be funded as part of GEI.

"This exciting technology combines Sarnoff’s industry-leading vision processing expertise with Viocare’s pioneering mobile food tracking capabilities," said Rick Weiss, president of Viocare Technologies. "Together, Sarnoff and Viocare are able to deliver a system that vastly improves the administration of nutritional studies while offering dieters a simple yet revolutionary way to track the content of the food they eat."

Over time, the FIVR system will be able to categorize a user’s eating habits. Using a series of questions, FIVR will both recognize foods a user commonly eats, such as popcorn, and will also identify habits specific to that food, such as adding butter.

"In the past nutritional studies have relied on onerous questionnaires, food diaries, or a large staff of dedicated surveyors," said Dr. Don Newsome, Sarnoff’s president and CEO. "By leveraging Sarnoff and Viocare’s extensive experience developing advanced medical technologies, FIVR eases that burden, allowing studies to receive more accurate, timely, and cost-effective data."

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