Eating too much? A Dartmouth researcher thinks he may have a solution for all those who hate manually writing into an app all the foods they eat throughout the day — a wearable system that detects how much you chew and enters it for you.
The device, created by graduate student Shengjie Bi, uses two off-the-shelf sensors to detect in real time the type of eating you do, and claims an accuracy exceeding 90.9 percent. While that’s not exactly what you chew, it can help you recognize how much you chew.
Americans have a serious habit of overeating, leading to a nationwide obesity epidemic. Despite the evidence, many of us believe we eat healthy food, never realizing how much we are stuffing our faces throughout the day. Much of the problem comes down to portion control and unconscious noshing, so a device keeping tabs on our chewing could aid in helping us face ourselves.
Of course, there have been a few rare attempts to do something similar. Healbe GoBe made headlines when it launched an Indiegogo campaign claiming the device could measure caloric intake through your skin. Now on Amazon, the GoBe starts at $150 and says it can do this by analyzing your body’s glucose concentrations, though the accuracy seems to get mixed reviews.
The AIRO Watch was another device claiming to measure caloric intake through spectroscopic analysis of body tissue. The company also ran an Indiegogo campaign, but ended up having to issue a bunch of refunds and we haven’t heard much from the company since then.
Bi’s device won’t be commercially available anytime soon, as he’s only conducted a narrow study of 20 people so far. However, it does open the discussion for a better way to watch our calories. We are swimming in Fitbits, Apple Watches and other devices for monitoring calories burned, but we still don’t have many options when it comes to digitally watching what we eat.
Right now the device doesn’t account for chewing on salad versus chewing cookies, so it’s not ideal for caloric intake monitoring just yet — though I wouldn’t rule that out down the line. It also might be pretty weird to go around wearing a sensor on your jaw, letting everyone know you are tracking how much you eat throughout the day. However, someone else could come up with a less embarrassing method to check your calories in versus out.
It’s early days, but I have no doubt there are other companies out there working in a similar space (get at me if you know of a good one). But one thing is sure, there are fewer companies concentrating on caloric intake than caloric burn, and that seems like an opportunity. I don’t know about you, but I often forget to write down what I eat every day.