Scanning Barcodes and Counting Calories – iPhone Has an App

Need to count calories? DailyBurn and iPhone have an App for that.
Need to count calories? DailyBurn and iPhone have an App for that.

Your iPhone can play so many roles in your life: tour guide, military commander, camerman, restaurant reviewer, bank teller, DJ, and now… nutritionist. The newly renamed DailyBurn (formerly Gyminee) has developed a calorie counting iPhone App, called FoodScanner, that lets you scan barcodes on packaged food products to keep track of your daily intake. With over 200,000 registered items in their database, DailyBurn’s App also lets you view nutritional labels post-scan. While the retail price is $3, you can purchase the App now for just $1. Check out the demonstration video after the break.

DailyBurn’s App is just the latest example of how the physical world and the digital information world are merging. Just by pointing the iPhone camera at a scannable object, users can connect themselves to a large database that is directly relevant to their needs. In the case of health and nutrition, this database is DailyBurn’s extensive online community. We’ve seen other such connections like the Layars augmented reality functions on other smart phones. In the future every item in the real world will be enhanced by an extraordinary depth of data we will be able to connect to quickly and easily.

Scanning barcodes isn’t easy, and the curves and folds in packaging often makes it more difficult. DailyBurn has conquered the challenges of scanning by partnering with Occipital’s Red Laser APP, easily reading barcodes on reflective, curved, and uneven surfaces. The Red Laser App is worth a post just by itself, check out the video below.

I’m not sure how many iPhone users will pay $3 (or even $1) for a scanning calorie counter, it could be quite a few, but that’s only part of the promise of FoodScanner. iPhone users can opt to sync up their counting with DailyBurn’s more elaborate website. Much like Fat Secret, DailyBurn has created a network of like minded dieters looking for weight loss tips, shared workout experiences, and online support. Users can plot graphs of their progress, and share them with groups of friends. It’s a good model for business (social networking site meets locker room) and the App will probably help DailyBurn increase its share of the market. We’ll let you know how the competition between Fat Secret and DailyBurn (and other such sites) pans out.

Of course, DailyBurn’s App does have one big drawback. As they discussed in the video, you can’t scan an apple, though you can keep track of whole food consumption manually. It’s a little ironic that an App designed to help you eat healthier doesn’t like to track healthy foods. Maybe the best sign that you’re eating right is if you can’t use the App at all.

Still, DailyBurn and other iPhone App creators are onto a powerful trend. Linking portable devices to vast databases of information is going to change the way we view our world. Smart phones are starting to act more and more like external memory devices. You don’t have to remember or learn something when your phone can keep track of it for you. iPhone, what should I eat? iPhone, where’s the nearest bathroom? iPhone, why is everyone looking at me like I’m crazy?

[photo credit: DailyBurn]

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