I used to host a podcast with a few of my friends about crowdfunded technology. My role was generally debunking tech that was patently physically impossible. We stopped doing the podcast a while later, at some point /r/shittykickstarters began on Reddit. Unfortunately, it seems they're a bit too quick on the trigger to "debunk" projects. e.g reddit.com/r/shittykickstarter

It's a cutting board "that scans your food and knows its content". The pitch is swish, and promises a lot. But ultimately, it's a food recognition app in an embedded system, bolted to a cutting board, with a load sensor to measure weight. The problem is that it's purpose is quite similar to another project that was much less feasible, SCiO - which claimed to be a handheld "specrometer" that could "analyse the sugar content of food".

This "Aura Nutrio", though, isn't using magic. It's using a camera. And a load cell. And a bit of image classification ML. It doesn't claim to "analyse the content" of the food. Just knowing it's an apple and how much it weighs gives you enough information to retrieve the information from a nutrition database. I have an app on my phone that can do that. It's not built into a chopping board (that part is a questionable design decision tbh), but it's not impossible.

Like, I get it, they've been burned by a fraud with similar claims. And I'm not convinced it's a great project (I certainly am not backing it). But they don't deserve to get the hate they are getting just because their idea is similar to a fraudulent one, or because the OP thinks the idea is "impossible" because they've made an assumption of how the tech is built.

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Imagine if the original inventors of the MP3 player had to deal with this kind of rubbish. "You claim you're going to get 60,000 CDs on there by grinding them up into a fine paste, then injecting them into a small tank behind the screen, and then having a tiny gremlin reconstruct them song by song when you want to play them? That's BULLSHIT! You're a FRAUD!". "Wait, no I didn't say any of ...." "You're trying to TAKE my HARD EARNED MONEY" "No, I'm ..." "This should be ILLEGAL!!!"

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And, to be clear, I have seen some complete bullshit physically impossible projects successfully funded before, and that's not good. This one, for example: indiegogo.com/projects/the-ska - from the outset, it was pretty easy to determine that the product that was trying to be built was physically impossible - or at least wildly impractical. It could well have been ill intentioned, or just incompetence on the inventor's part. But either way, this deserved to be debunked.

Likewise, I followed a campaign for an extremely plausible product that failed to deliver. So plausible, in fact, that it was possible to purchase an unbranded version though AliExpress. And yet, despite the fact the campaign was a glorified group buy, it still failed to deliver and the creators disappeared with the funding.

But sometimes, people will come up with an idea for a product, and it will be clever - impressive, even - and a crowdfunding project might be just the thing they need to get it off the ground. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's fraudulent.

This project, specifically, is easily explained. It's a chopping board, with a touchscreen on it. The touchscreen enclosure has a camera inside it. See?

The camera points at a metal nubbin on the board. This one.

When you're identifying a piece of food, you put it on top of the nubbin. Which is designed to be in the centre of the frame of the camera.

Also, that metal nubbin also happens to be a NFC reader! You can attach a NFC sticker to the bottom of your jars, and it can tell what jar you've got out. Huh, neat.

None of this sounds especially outlandish, does it? And yet, it has been greeted with pitchforks by /r/shittykickstarters because it bears a resemblence to that old fradulent project.

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