Microsoft’s concept smartglasses will warn you to step away from that burger

Food tracking remains one of the biggest challenges for health-focused wearables, but Microsoft could be hatching a plan to make it a whole lot easier to keep an eye on what you should and shouldn’t be tucking away.

The tech giant was recently granted a patent for a wearable food nutrition feedback system that looks less HoloLens and more like a pair of Oakley shades. According to the filing the possible future product will use a see-through, head mounted display and “sensing devices” to provide feedback on food items detected in the device field of view.

Read this: Mike’s food tracking diary from week 1-9

The augmented reality glasses will apparently be able to monitor sight, sound, location, temperature and motion, using eyeball tracking tech to know what items the user is looking at. Once identified, an image processing engine then analyses the item and pulls up nutritional information based on data provided by a manufacturer, submitted by a restaurant or from a similar recipe.

Gesture recognition is then used to identify the food item chosen by the wearer plus the glasses track sound and head movement to determine when you start eating.

The listing also goes on to explain how warnings could be provided based on a user’s personal dietary requirements or allergies. It can also factor in general nutritional information, track calorie and nutritional intake to give you a heads up when you should steer clear from any calorie busting items you’ve spied. Like the image below illustrates, it will tell you whether it’s wise to have another big meal for the day.

Microsoft smart glasses will warn you to step away from that burger

Other features will include GPS to track your location. The system knows when you walk into a certain restaurant to pull up reviews in order to help you decide whether you should stick around and order or make a dash for the door. There’s also talk of other social elements like making it easy to share information on previous meals with other users.

The patent was originally filed in 2015 and follows on from other food related patents Microsoft has filed in the past including one for analysing restaurant menus and another based around food allergies.

To say this is an ambitious idea is an understatement. There’s so much here that Microsoft will have to get right on the hardware and software front to make this a reality. Will it be able to house the tech into something that looks more Snapchat Specs than Google Glass? We might be waiting a while before we see someone walking around with food analysing smartglasses. Wearing sunglasses in winter seems strange but is a good idea

The lower angle of winter sun can damage unprotected eyes, a Taranaki optometrist has warned.

People need to be vigilant about protecting their eyes in winter as lower sun angles and UV exposure on unprotected eyes put them at greater risk of cataracts, ocular melanoma, and skin cancers around the eyelids, Stratford Optometrists’ Phillipa Charteris said.

“Despite UV levels being higher in spring and summer, eyes are naturally shaded during the hotter months as they are deep set – and thus partially protected when the sun is high in the sky. However, this means there can be more direct exposure on winter days when the sun sits lower.”

And the risk is compounded by a more casual attitude towards sun smart behaviour as the weather cools, Charteris said.

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“People relax their guard in winter, thinking that the ambient temperature is equivalent to UV levels, however the increased UV exposure from activities near snow or water like skiing and fishing can contribute to an elevated risk of damage. Summer messages for UV protection such as wearing sunglasses and hats are not in the front of their mind, but UV rays are still present and can still do harm.”

Even people who are just out taking a walk every morning need to be aware and children are particularly in danger of UV exposure, she said.

UV damage to eyes is cumulative and irreversible, and is believed to contribute to several serious eye conditions that can result in vision loss, including cataracts and corneal degeneration.

It is also considered a cause of ocular melanoma as well as skin cancer around the eyes and eyelids, which accounts for an estimated 5-10 per cent of skin cancer patients.

Always wear UV protective eyewear when outside – all year round.

With an estimated 3 million people globally going blind every year due to prolonged UV exposure, important for everyone to take further steps to look after their eyes, she said.