One of the best tips for getting healthy and losing weight is to log the food you eat. Unfortunately, food logging is also onerous. Food journals are inexpensive, but it’s easy to forget to log everything and even if you do, paper or spreadsheets don’t connect to nutritional information. Apps that scan barcodes make it a little easier, but that doesn’t work when you’re at a restaurant.
Bite.ai is looking to remove those pain points by using computer vision to do all the work of recording what you eat and automatically providing nutritional information. It’s basically a photo food journal that tracks 47 nutrient information points (calories, fats, carbs, etc.) and helps you use that data to reach dieting or other health-related goals. The app is free and currently has roughly 150,000 users, according to Bite.ai Co-Founder and CTO, Michal Wolski. You can see it in action in this video.
As you can see from the video, we aren’t quite living in a fully automatic, sci-fi world quite yet. You take a picture and Bite.ai brings up food suggestions that you confirm, but you still have to enter how much of something you’re eating. As with most things AI, the more you use it, the more you’re training the algorithms and the better/more accurate the app will get.
Wolski says the plan is to keep the consumer app free and generate revenue through a B2B play. Bite.ai offers an API for other apps to use Bite’s computer vision and analysis platform. Wolski said that Bite currently has about a dozen customers using the APIs and integrating Bite’s technology for wide ranging purposes such as interactive marketing campaigns, glucose monitoring, weight loss and even research studies currently being conducted at two universities.
Bite is by no means the only company looking to use computer vision to make food logging easier. Calorie Mama offers a similar service, and was integrated into Samsung’s Bixby AI platform. And last year Microsoft was awarded a patent for “Food Logging from Images.”
Going up against giants like that, Bite.ai certainly has its work cut out for it, especially considering the company is currently bootstrapped. However, everyone eats, so the visual food logging space doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. If Bite’s technology performs, it can take its own bite out of the health and wellness market.