Nowadays it takes a lot for me to consider putting a new piece of technology on my countertop.
It’s not that I don’t love kitchen tech. (Heck, I did start an event on the topic.) It’s that I long ago ran out of countertop space and my wife only has so much patience for my expensive habit of buying new kitchen gear.
Which is why I’ve never made room for a kitchen scale. Intellectually, I understand the arguments for one: more precise measurements, less clutter than a hodgepodge of measuring cups and bowls, and a good way to track food calories and intake. In the end, though, I still can’t see where I’d put it.
But what if I could combine it with a cutting board? And better yet, what if I could also use this new cutting board-scale as a food inventory and tracking system?
All of this may be possible with the Aurora Nutrio, a new smart cutting board that has debuted through Indiegogo. The device weighs and identifies raw food, scans packaged food, calculates nutrition information, helps users track food inventory and ingredients on hand.
When you look at the Nutrio’s cutting surface, you’ll see the actual board part of the cutting board is made of wood. The wood board (or boards; the system offers bamboo, beech or nutwood board options and you can buy more than one board to use during a cook) reside on top of a base which houses all of the technology and sensors.
One of those sensors is a spectrometer. The spectrometer, the small circle in the upper left hand corner of the board, uses infrared light to scan the molecular properties of the food and give you the caloric and nutritional composition of food.
You can see a demonstration of how a scan would work in the Nutrio Indiegogo video below:
The device also has an on-board camera for scanning packaged goods, and a built-in NFC reader to track food inventory with the provided NFC food tags.
Like a lot of connected devices, the Nutrio has an associated app that unlocks more features, including the ability to log food in a diary and access nutrition information of food you weigh and scan. The app, called Lighthouse, is also where you’d track food inventory through the associated NFC tagging system.
I have to admit, all of this technology sounds pretty neat. Not only would I get the scale I want disguised as a cutting board, but I’d also get a full food-tracking and nutrition-management system.
That said, I’m still hesitant to pull the trigger for a few reasons.
The most obvious one is this is still just a prototype being offered on Indiegogo. And as we’re all too aware, super tech-forward products like this have a real mixed track record of ever making it to market. Add in that this product is promising a bunch of features using fairly complicated technology, and you have to wonder if the company will actually be able to deliver on all of those claims.
My second reason to hesitate is price. The Nutrio is expensive, with an early-bird price that’s over $400 on Indiegogo. That’s much higher than basic digital scales or even smart scales like the Renpho, which go for $20 nowadays on Amazon.
The final concern is that this product would be yet another proprietary system and app that relies on a subscription model to unlock all the features. According to the campaign’s FAQ, the system’s Pro edition of the app will cost between €5 and €10 per month, or roughly $6 to $12 USD, after the first year. I don’t know about you, but it takes a lot for me nowadays to pull out a credit card for an app, let alone for a cutting board and scale app (though the campaign promises to give lifetime access to the app if they hit €250,000).
All that said, the Nutrio is still an interesting appliance, presenting a fairly holistic approach to food tracking and management. I’ll be keeping an eye on it, and if you’d like to follow (or buy one), you can find it here at Indiegogo.