Researchers atLouisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA, USA) have developed a camera-phone based system that can estimate the nutritional value of food.
The system uses the camera of the smart-phone to capture an image of the food on a plate after which image processing software processes the image, analyzing the food by type and amount before reporting back with nutritional information.
The software to handle the task was developed by Bahadir Gunturk, an associate professor in the LSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Corby Martin, an associate professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Martin and Gunturk's automated image analysis system takes digital food images as input and provides nutritional information as output by comparing the images with a large database of sample images with known weights and nutritional data. It consists of a number of image processing steps, including segmentation, pattern classification and volume estimation.
The segmentation step detects the plate using shape information and sections the regions of food inside it. The classification step identifies the food type in a food region by comparing its color and texture features against the same features of known food images in a database. The volume estimation step analyzes the surface area of a given food in the image and cross references the information with a database to estimate the volume of food after correcting for the viewpoint and distance of the camera from the plate.
The two researchers believe that the system could be used to help in the fight against obesity by enabling individuals to help monitor and control their intake of food.
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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor,Vision Systems Design