Smart Kitchen Notes: Google Im2Calories, June Oven

If your site has a blog, you might as well us it, right?

We're going to be using this site for updating folks on the Smart Kitchen Summit, but also as a way to discuss important news and trends in the smart kitchen.  We'll highlight key stories, give our opinion, features interviews with leaders and more. 

Here goes for this week...

Google's Im2Calories App And The Growing Battle Over Quantified Food

One of the key trends we see in the smart kitchen is the race to better quantify our food using advanced technology approaches. One of these approaches is to combine AI and image recognition.  While there have been a few startups in this space like Fitly creating interesting connected kitchen products that utilize images with deep learning algorithms to estimate caloric and nutrition information, Google just revealed an app using this technology, which marks the first time a bigger tech player has revealed an initiative in this space.

Google's app is call Im2Calories, and according to a piece in Popular Science, uses image recognition and pattern recognition and is perpetually learning based on user feedback. 

The core technology for the app came from Google's acquisition of DeepMind, an AI/deep learning startup the company bought in 2014.  What will be interesting is if Google, at some point, combines this type of technology with its efforts in the smart home, even if it's through partnerships with appliance makers to let them use the technology in Im2Calories.

The approach used by Google is one of a few being employed to better quantify food.  Currently there are a number of startups which use weight and volumetric sensors , such as Orange Chef with its scale or SKE Labs with its smart container (both companies' CEOs will be at the Smart Kitchen Summit) and then match this data against a database of food or beverages. There are also companies like Vessyl which use some kind of molecular sensor/detection, and then there are companies like Consumer Physics with its Scio that are also IR scanning/spectroscopy technology to determine food caloric and nutrition information. 

All are fairly new, but we're no doubt seeing this space pick up momentum!

Come to the Smart Kitchen Summit to hear leaders talk about the quantified kitchen. 

June Intelligent Oven

The biggest news in the smart kitchen space this past week was no doubt the introduction of the June Intelligent Oven. As I wrote over at the Smart Home Weekly: 

"When many of the first generation of smart kitchen appliances mainly consist of added network connectivity and some smart phone control and monitoring, the June goes further. I expect that if they can deliver on the early promise of the device when they finally ship, the June Intelligent oven could be a very interesting addition to the smart kitchen landscape."

The feature set goes beyond that of other efforts in the smart oven space, with its internal probes, advanced heating elements, but the biggest deal is the internal camera that also uses some of the same image recognition and pattern recognition technology approaches as that of the Google food app.

The founders were fairly high-profile execs with experience in the social media, sharing economy and mobile worlds, which I think is important. When executives with impressive pedigrees enter a new space, others become curious about it. Ultimately, a part of the importance of June is that it will likely cause more investors and more creators to take notice of the smart kitchen space. 

The oven is available for pre-sale today with beta units shipping in the fall for $1495, and production units shipping in spring. Retail price will be about $3000.

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