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MIT’s app promises to count calories and help you lose weight

There are plenty of apps that claim to help you lose weight, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are currently developing one such app that claims to lower the barrier of entry in regards to such a task, reports BGR.

Recently shown off as a web-based prototype at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, the app keeps track of caloric intake by allowing people to verbally describe the meal they either ate or are thinking of eating. The app then pings an online database managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to retrieve relevant nutritional data pertaining to the indicated meal.

Related: The NIH says genetics should be a part of every weight loss plan

The nutritional data is then shown alongside images of the meal, as well as a pull-down menu that lets users refine any descriptions, such as the quantity of food. Such refinements can also be done with via voice, with formality seemingly not taken into account. For example, if you say you had a bowl of oatmeal, bananas, and a glass of orange juice, and refine it to say you had half a banana, the change pertaining to the data will be made everything else is left untouched.

According to the researchers behind the app, the biggest barrier of entry for apps that log meals is how tedious it can be to do so, making it more difficult for people to really stick with it. As a result, dieters lose interest in counting their calories and possibly lose interest in losing weight as well.

There’s no word on when the app will be released, though it looks helpful not only for those looking to lose weight, but also maintain currently weight. Even so, according to the National Institutes of Health, if you want to lose weight, you might want to take your genetics into account when developing a nutritional plan.