Although there are already devices that can tell you approximately how many calories are in your food, they typically require you to manually input data regarding the type and amount of food that you're eating ... and as we all know, people generally don't like having to "do" things. A senior scientist at GE, however, is developing a gadget that could instantly display the caloric content of any food placed within it, at the touch of a button.

Matt Webster was inspired to create the device after his wife told him that she wasn't interested in receiving an activity monitor as a gift, if it didn't automatically track her caloric intake.

Working with colleagues at the GE labs in upstate New York, he devised a formula that estimates the calorie density of foods based on their weight, fat content and water content. The formula just assumes values for other factors such as sugar, carbohydrate and protein content – and apparently it's still pretty accurate.

"You actually don’t need to know the details," he said. "We just have  to account for it. That’s the secret sauce."

Webster and his team are now working on sensing systems that could ascertain a food item's fat and water content by subjecting it to microwaves, then analyzing the signature of the waves that pass through. Although they're currently working with simple mixtures of oil, water and sugar, the researchers hope to ultimately produce a household device that could provide instant readings of plated meals and snacks.

More information is available in the video below.

Source: GE Reports