Calgary Entrepreneurs Created a Smart Scale to Track Nutrition
The world’s first portable smart scale for nutrition comes from Calgary and its makers hope it will be on the market in the first quarter of 2016.
Photograph courtesy of Slate
Healthy eating is for everyone. Rana Varma hopes that Slate Scale is, too.
Slate is a local health tech innovation. It’s the world’s first portable scale for nutrition and it’s intended for everyone and anyone, from the diabetic looking to track their carbs to the competitive athlete to the everyday person trying to lose weight.
In September, Slate won first place at the W21C health competition hosted by the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services, and was selected to be one of 10 startups showcased at the Startup Calgary launch event on November 19.
The company is made up of its two co-founders, Varma and Teddy Seyed, and also partners with Tomislav Spehar, a mechanical engineer, and Kristin Brown, a registered dietician. The co-founders met and worked at Protospace, a local maker space, and took Slate from just an idea to a prototype in 12 months.
Its goal is simple. “People are looking to live healthier lives,” says Varma. “They should be monitoring their intake to be healthy and Slate helps people do that easily.”
Slate is made up of two components: a free app and the scale. The scale is easy to use as there’s just one power button. It’s about the size of two packs of cards and weights about 100 grams. It can easily fit in a purse or bag, so users can keep track of what they’re eating even when they’re not home.
The app itself is personalized. Depending on your allocated calorie budget, the app will recommend recipes tailored to your calorie goals.
And it’s affordable. After buying the scale, (it will cost $75 if you buy it next year, less if you support the Indiegogo campaign), the app is free.
How the Slate scale works
After the scale is turned on, it connects to the free app on your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth. You can then place up to 1 kilogram of food on the scale to get an accurate breakdown of its nutritional value. The app is connected to a database that allows the user to enter the type of food they are weighing. (The database has thousands of items to choose from.)
The app analyzes the food you’re weighing and shows you its essential nutritional facts – think calories, fats and carbs – and keeps track of how much you’re consuming each day.
Other smart features of the smart scale
When they say it’s a smart scale, they mean it. As you continue to weigh the same food, it will begin to recognize your behaviour. “Say you have cereal for breakfast every day. You won’t have to put the cereal on the scale each day and type it in,” says Varma. “The scale recognizes the food and the time of day, and makes keeping a food journal even easier.”
As well as being a personal dietician (although it shouldn’t replace a dietician or nutritionist depending on your goals), Slate will set to zero so it won’t weigh dishes, and it will track and visualize your nutritional performance with colourful graphs and charts.
The team is also in talks to integrate Slate with fitness apps. “That way you have all your data in one place – calories burned and consumed – and you know where you’re at for the day,” says Varma. “It lets people track things in one place rather than jumping from app to app.”