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July 29, 2017 AT 5:00 am

AI suggests recipes based on food photos

Artificial intelligence suggests recipes based on food photos MIT News

MIT’s CSAIL team is developing a program that will analyze food images and suggest a recipe for that item. Via MIT News:

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) believe that analyzing photos like these could help us learn recipes and better understand people’s eating habits. In a new paper with the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), the team trained an artificial intelligence system called Pic2Recipe to look at a photo of food and be able to predict the ingredients and suggest similar recipes.

Given a photo of a food item, Pic2Recipe could identify ingredients like flour, eggs, and butter, and then suggest several recipes that it determined to be similar to images from the database.

In the future, the team hopes to be able to improve the system so that it can understand food in even more detail. This could mean being able to infer how a food is prepared (i.e. stewed versus diced) or distinguish different variations of foods, like mushrooms or onions.

The researchers are also interested in potentially developing the system into a “dinner aide” that could figure out what to cook given a dietary preference and a list of items in the fridge.

“This could potentially help people figure out what’s in their food when they don’t have explicit nutritional information,” says Hynes. “For example, if you know what ingredients went into a dish but not the amount, you can take a photo, enter the ingredients, and run the model to find a similar recipe with known quantities, and then use that information to approximate your own meal.”

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