The food-tracking wearable device may help fight diabetes, obesity and more
Carrots and apples not only taste different. They make distinct sounds when chewed.
This is a prototype of the AutoDietary food tracking system.
Credit: University at Buffalo
This may seem like trivial knowledge, but it's not in the laboratory of University at Buffalo computer scientist Wenyao Xu, who is creating a library that catalogues the unique sounds that foods make as we bite, grind and swallow them.
The library is part of a software package that supports AutoDietary, a high-tech, food-tracking necklace being developed by Xu and researchers at Northeastern University in China.
Described in a study published February by IEEE Sensors Journal, AutoDietary is like Fitbit and other wearable devices. Only instead of tracking burned calories, it monitors caloric intake - in other words, what we eat - at the neck.
"There is no shortage of wearable devices that tell us how many calories we burn, but creating a device that reliably measures caloric intake isn't so easy," says Xu, PhD, assistant professor of computer science in UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
AutoDietary wraps around the back of the neck like a choker necklace. A tiny high-fidelity microphone - about the size of a zipper pull - records the sounds made during mastication and as the food is swallowed. That data is sent to a smartphone via Bluetooth, where food types are recognized.
The study describes how 12 test subjects, male and female, ages 13 to 49, were given water and six types of food: apples, carrots, potato chips, cookies, peanuts and walnuts. AutoDietary was able to accurately identify the correct food and drink 85 percent of the time.
"Each food, as it's chewed, has its own voice," says Xu, who says the device could someday help people suffering from diabetes, obesity, bowel disorders and other ailments by enabling them to better monitor their food intake and, thus, improve how they manage their conditions.
Xu plans future studies to build upon his library by testing different foods and recording the sounds they make. He also plans to refine the algorithms used to differentiate the foods to improve AutoDietary's ability to recognize what's being eaten.
While promising, a wearable necklace that measures sound has limitations when used alone. For example, it cannot differentiate similar foods such as frosted corn flakes and regular corn flakes. It also can't distinguish the ingredients of complex foods such as soup or chili.
To address these limitations, Xu is planning a biomonitoring device which would complement AutoDietary. The device is underdevelopment but it would be activated once the necklace recognizes that the user is eating a general category of food.
The biomonitor would then determine the nutritional value of the food via blood sugar levels and other measurements. The system then gathers and presents this information on a smartphone, while providing suggestions on healthier eating.
The beauty of the system, Xu says, is that the user isn't overwhelmed by a continuous stream of information. The system is only active as food is consumed and immediately after.
Cory Nealon | EurekAlert!
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research