Cell Phone Cameras Coach Calorie Conscious Chubbies & Chubbettes

Tempted by that tasty-looking desert but concerned about keeping fit and healthy? Wonder no longer - with a simple snap of your cell phone camera you can enlist a diet expert to weigh in on whether that pie will go right to your thighs.

If Japan's rising average age and declining birthrate weren't enough to keep government planners in the Ministry of Health awake at night, the specter of "metabolic syndrome " is keeping them frazzled in the daytime as well. Metabolic syndrome covers a number of modern health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes - all of which are increasing in frequency as Japan's population gets older, heavier and wider. Even more disturbing, metabolic syndrome is affecting the younger generation, raised on fatty, western-style foods and unhealthy high-calorie snacks.

According to Osaka official Satomi Onishi, "Japanese have been getting fatter, especially men in their 20s and 30s, and there is concern over what they learned about nutrition when they were younger." Since cell phones with cameras are nearly ubiquitous among Japanese 20 & 30-somethings these days, exploiting the cell phone obsession seems like a good idea. Continues Onishi, "We're hoping that this program can help us to get a handle on the problem." Yeah... a love handle (or two).


Here's how it works: concerned chubbies & chubbettes simply snap a photo of a tasty treat with their trusty cell phone camera. The image is sent to a health & nutrition expert for analysis, who then reports back with an opinion on the food item. Now it must be said that it can take up to 3 days - that's right, 3 days - for the report to come back, so standing patiently in line, drooling, is not an option. It's hoped that one day, as technology catches up to match the idea, the wait time will be cut to 3 minutes or less. Already Japanese consumers can receive recipe ideas from packaged foods just by waving their cell phones at the item, not to mention paying for said item(s) through their cell phones. The highway is in place, we're just waiting for a fast enough vehicle! (via CNN )

Browse InventorSpot.com for interesting and informative articles by Lisa Zyga , Jefferson Smith and Imani Peterson about the many ways cell phones and cell phone cameras are changing our lives for the better!

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer