Many people looking to lose weight these days use wearable fitness trackers to automatically monitor calories burned during exercise. Caloric intake, on the other hand, requires manual input by the user that leads people to either skip it altogether or provide estimates that are often not very accurate. A team of researchers headed by Dr. Edward Sazonov of University of Alabama have been working on a system to more automatically quantify what you eat.
The Automatic Ingestion Monitor resembles a wearable Bluetooth headset that wraps around the ear. It has a camera on the front to photograph the food that is brought up to the mouth, and within the device there’s a sensor that can detect the motion of the jaw. Special software can distinguish between different jaw motions so that conversations are not mistaken for meals. The system will hopefully be able to identify the food a person is eating and accurately estimate how much of it is consumed. The technology is already at a stage to have just received a $1.8 million grant from the NIH to begin testing the system in a study to evaluate its practical applications.