This Microwave Doesn't Cook Calories, It Counts Them

PHOTO: GE is developing a contraption that uses microwaves to count the calories in the food.Jim Knapp/GE
GE is developing a contraption that uses microwaves to count the calories in the food.

This microwave will count your calories, not cook them.

Matt Webster, a biologist, and his team at General Electric are developing advanced sensor technology that will ideally one day be able to calculate the calories in a meal with just one push of a button.

“I was trying to get a birthday present for my wife,” Webster told ABC News. “I wanted to get her an activity monitor, but she said she wasn’t interested unless it tracked the calories she ate.”

And so the development of the calorie counter came to be.

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Webster describes the machine as “a very low power microwave,” but it will not cook the food you put into it.

Instead, the calorie-counting device will pass microwave signals though the food and assess what comes out of the other side to pull information from the sample, ultimately counting the calories of whatever was put inside.

The early prototype of the machine has been successful, Webster said.

“Right now we can pretty accurately get calories of water, oil and sugar,” said Webster. “Now we’re trying out real foods.”

Webster hopes to have the product finished in two or three years, and thinks that the calorie counter could encourage healthier lifestyles for those who may not have the time to meticulously track everything they eat.

“Everything is moving towards apps and easy,” Webster said. “Pairing this with an activity monitor and a scale would mean tracking your calories isn’t so difficult anymore.”

Webster hopes that the product will eventually be a natural part of every home, possibly even in restaurants, to make calorie tracking as simple as possible.