For those of us that often forget — sometimes conveniently — how many fruits and vegetables we eat each day, a new kind of laser could help reveal that information with a minimum of fuss. Developed by researchers at Yale University and the University of Utah, the solid-state laser fires a blue beam at a patient's hand, which measures carotenoids in the skin, a biomarker that indicates a high-vegetable and fruit diet. Traditionally this has been measured by taking blood, but the new process is non-invasive and a whole lot quicker — it takes about a minute for the laser to measure the carotenoids and then process the results.
It's potentially an ideal way to objectively measure fruit and vegetable intake, but there are a few kinks to be worked out. Scientists don't currently know the half-life of carotenoids in your skin, for instance, so it's unclear just how long a period of time the laser's measurements reflect. But once problems like that are resolved, who knows — the next Nike+ FuelBand might know what you had for dinner.