Apple Exploring Electronic Tagging Solution For Easily Tracking Dietary Intake

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 2, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple is exploring an electronic tagging solution to make it easier for Apple Watch users to track their calorie and nutritional intake as part of a healthy lifestyle, as shown in a patent newly granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    Many of today's healthy eating and diet-based food apps require users to manually input nutrition information into their mobile devices, whether by scanning barcodes with their phone's camera or inputting nutritional figures unit by unit. It's the sort of repetitive and time-consuming exercise that often causes users to give up on their diet-tracking, but Apple's invention offers a much more convenient solution.


    Titled "Electronic tag transmissions of custom-order nutritional information", the patent describes a system that allows food vendors to encode nutritional information into radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on the fly. The tags can be generated to accompany multiple-item orders at a food counter, as an attachment to the food packaging or as part of a purchase receipt. The tags can then be used to automatically transmit the nutrition data to the customer's NFC-capable device, such as an iPhone or Apple Watch.

    In one example detailed in the patent, an RFID tag combines the multiple variables that make up a customer's bespoke food order - such as the bread, cheese, meat, and sauces in a hamburger - to generate accurate nutritional information for the end user. Once these details are transmitted to the user's mobile device, a health monitoring app subtracts the numbers from a daily calorie intake limit as defined in advance, allowing for a more measured, less bothersome way of recording eating habits.

    If such a system ever came to market, its success would depend on the wide adoption of the technology by all kinds of food vendors - a difficult undertaking that suggests Apple's aims may not be so grand. As noted by AppleInsider, it's possible the RFID tagging could be used in company cafeterias and restaurants for the benefit of employees - in Apple Park, for example.

    Apple has increased its focus on health and medical technology that integrates with its mobile devices in recent years, with iPhone and Apple Watch being at the center of its plans. HealthKit framework debuted in 2014, allowing developers to build health monitoring software that integrates with Apple's Health app, while Apple's open source framework ResearchKit was made available to developers in April 2015, enabling them to create their own iPhone apps for medical research purposes.

    Article Link: Apple Exploring Electronic Tagging Solution For Easily Tracking Dietary Intake
  2. timi22 macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2015
    People should start counting chemicals in food not calories
  3. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    That would work for prepared food items but those are already pretty dang easy to track. It's the homemade items where you need to figure out amounts of various ingredients or the non-chain restaurants where you have zero idea what is actually in the dish that are difficult to track and neither of those situations is going to have an RFID tag to scan.
  4. Ovedius macrumors 6502


    Aug 2, 2012
    I'm calling this right now, soon we'll have Apple probes up our poopshutes that link to Health Kit.
  5. BruceEBonus macrumors 65816


    Sep 23, 2007
    Derbyshire, England
    All of these obese people need to lighten up a bit!
  6. drinkonlyscotch macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2011
    Plenty of people would benefit from tracking calories. The science demonstrating a link between obesity and chronic health issues is stronger than the link between "chemicals" and chronic health issues, unless we're talking about lead, etc.
  7. iDento macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2011
    iCloud Servers
    Calories counting is a chore and I think no one will figure out how to make it easier! :oops:
  8. lazyrighteye, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017

    lazyrighteye macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2002
    Denver, CO
    While a significant challenge to bring this to market in a way that resembles mass adoption, that they're working on this is important. And if anyone can muscle this to the masses, it's Apple and their well established ecosystem/user base.

    Even a rudimentary implementation of this would be better than current options. Seems akin to step counters as related to caloric burn: not 100% accurate, but at the very least has people more connected to/aware of their movement/health - which is an important step toward better health.

    And that's just it... I know we're a short-sighted, all or nothing society. But fact is, you gotta start somewhere. Crawl before you walk before you run. Again, I'm glad to see them working on this aspect of human health. Any steps towards raising awareness about the crap with which we're fueling our bodies is a good thing.

    Edit: That said, I can't see the McFast Food chains of the world lining up to support this initiative. Let alone the "healthier" options. Again, going to be tough to hit mass adoption. But... it's a worthy endeavor.
  9. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    Oh great, even more electronic trash to pollute the planet. :(

    I'm pretty sure QR codes are up to the task and would be a lot less expensive and add basically zero trash. There's even plant-based inks available.

    I thought Apple were supposed to be a "green" company. :confused:
  10. PizzaBoxStyle macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2014
    Apple HQ Cupterino Spaceship
    Apple wants <McDonalds> to tag all of their food products with disposable RFID tags so that people can find out just how bad the food is and then stop eating it?

    They are going to have to have some serious pull/influence to get this to be a thing.
  11. jimbobb24 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2005
    Sounds reasonable but a lot of implementation to overcome something that is not that onerous. I count calories with an app and to enter a food takes about 10-30 seconds. It's not that hard. So the solution needs to be cheaper and even easier with wide adoption. I think a better option probably is more advanced photo recognition that allows you to take a short video of a meal and estimate calories. It's not important to be perfect just want the total at the end of the day to be within 100 calories or so enabling people to maintain or lose.
  12. BrettArchibald macrumors member


    Jul 31, 2007
    This won't work for one very obvious reason: If you're serious about monitoring what you eat, then you won't be eating much pre-packaged food.
  13. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
  14. winston1236 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010

    The two places you describe as most difficult are also the places with the least calories.
  15. Southern Dad macrumors 68000

    Southern Dad

    May 23, 2010
    Shady Dale, Georgia
    I have been on Atkins for quite a while. While I don't count calories, I count net carbs, fat, and protein. I would love something that simplifies this.
  16. filmantopia macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2010
    This seems like it would be only a part of a greater strategy that includes blood chem/glucose monitoring on the Apple Watch (which apparently the company is hard at work on). If a person could see a reading of say, their blood sugar spiking after eating a donut, that in itself could change the world.
  17. 6836838 Suspended

    Jul 18, 2011
  18. BrettArchibald macrumors member


    Jul 31, 2007
    That's the point.
  19. iKen1 macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2012
    I just counted the chemicals mine, and just like yours, it came to 100%.

    I also just checked and it had 100% natural ingredients, not one of them was supernatural!
  20. DoctorDoctor Suspended

    Jul 14, 2016
    If it helps catch health issues what is the problem ? A good friend of mine was just recently diagnosed with colon cancer that has progressed pretty good. Had he had something stuck up his "poopshute" as you put it maybe it would have helped him and his doctor catch it quicker. Christ did you think of that ??
  21. Jakexb macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2014
    If you live in the US, the calories are about 1000x more likely to kill you / harm your health than any food additive.

    If you live in a country without strong regulation, then yeah watch out for the melamine milk.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2017 ---
    You can make biodegradable rfid tags:
  22. Cankoda macrumors regular


    Feb 21, 2011
    From what I can tell it would just be something added to existing packaging and receipts, nothing extra to be made, therefore no extra trash, just and easier from a QR code I think
  23. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014
    Here's a solution: Eat Less Crap & Take a Lap. The last thing the world needs right now is more nanny-state solutions to fake-crisis problems people create by their own lifestyle choices.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2017 ---
    All food is made of out chemicals. All life is nothing but chemicals. I didn't make the physical world, I just live in it.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2017 ---
    Shouldn't the dude in this photo have a lumberjack-beard and some thick, fake glasses?
  24. sudo1996, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017

    sudo1996 Suspended


    Aug 21, 2015
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    If all the food you buy has a barcode on it, you're doing it wrong.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2017 ---
    No. Go to any small, cheap restaurant targeted towards high school and college students, and check out how much oil and grease they put in their stuff. They make it taste good and don't care what's in it.

    Anyway, calories aren't necessarily the thing to avoid. For me, I want calories but not salt or sugar. Many restaurants dump that on too. Cooking at home is the way to go. Way cheaper as well.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2017 ---
    Seriously. This doesn't seem to be a problem at all in Europe, but most Americans are overweight. And from what I saw in France and Italy, they aren't very tech-savvy/addicted.

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