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A variety of services are making our physical world digital and vice versa, but there’s one huge area where that analog to digital translation has lagged — food. Whether it’s an easy way to get caloric information or a database that offers comprehensive food data tracking what we eat is still a manual and analog process. Which is why TellSpec, a hand-held device that it’s CEO says can scan the ingredients in your food is so interesting.

The device uses lasers to scan your food and tracks how the photons in the laser change as they hit particles in the food. The company’s algorithms then use those changes to determine what’s in the food. You can get nutrients, composition and then use that to infer calories. While many might pay the $ 300 that Hoffmann says it could cost just for tracking calories, Hoffamn explains that she’s really hoping to help more than those seeking to lose weight.

By connecting the data gleaned from the device across broad populations researchers could track how pesticides influence human health. By notifying users of gluten or other potential allergens in food, children might not have to fear anaphylactic shock from an unidentified peanut. Check out this weeks podcast for more. Plus we have my colleague Kevin Fitchard reviewing the Whistle, activity tracker for dogs. He’ll even tell you if it’s worth $ 100 and can stand up to his two pit bulls.

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Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Kevin Fitchard and Isabel Hoffman of TellSpec

  • Kevin explains what he thinks about the Whistle dog activity tracker
  • TellSpec’s Isabel Hoffmann explains how her food scanning device works.
  • Why bringing food online is about more than tracking calories.


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