We Americans are a health-obsessed bunch, buying niche gadgets like wearable step trackers and sensor-filled adhesive strips to help maintain our fitness. Now to keep our outrageous consumption habits in check, there’s the SmartPlate—a $149 Wi-Fi-connected dinner plate that automatically measures the calories in every meal. The plate is equipped with three cameras embedded within the plate’s meal dividers. The cameras work with an object-recognition smartphone app. Scales in each compartment determine portion sizes.
The system can identify more than 400,000 different types of food. It’s accurate enough to tell the difference between wheat and flour pasta, and the app offers suggestions for what to add and subtract from your meals. The American Heart Association has even partnered with the company. Yet the SmartPlate isn’t dishwasher or microwave friendly, which could deter the average glutton from forking over the cash. Because as we know, a dinner plate that can’t be used to nuke Hot Pockets is useless in most American homes.
This article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Smart Idea, Dumb Plate.”