Image source: Telephone Corp (NTT)/Nippon Telegraph

New technology tracks food intake by monitoring wrist movements

Japanese carrier Telephone Corp (NTT) and Nippon Telegraph announced this week a new wristband that can tell what you are eating simply by monitoring your arm movements.

Dubbed “Dietary Content Recognition Technology,” the wearable enables you to keep a diet record without inputting data by hand or taking pictures. As reported in Japan Today, the combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes and other sensors allows the wristband to distinquish between a beef bowl, sushi and bread, curry and pasta.

Demonstrated at the NTT R&D Forum 2017, data on arm movements is aggregated and arranged in a time series. The smartphone app AI then analyses the frequency of each movement to calculate dietary contents. The company admits that this is still very much work in progress, and that more market research needs to be done on accuracy of the wearable.

“The estimation of the dietary contents of set meals is a future challenge,” one NTT Docomo representative said.

The new technology sounds only slightly less crazy than the wearable we wrote about last year called Auto Dietary. The company behind the high-tech necklace that is still under development, says it can track your calorie intake by ‘listening’ to sounds of different foods as you chew them! To that extent, researchers from the University of Buffalo in the US and Northeastern Univeristy in China are creating a library that catalogues the unique sounds that foods make as we chew them.

Or maybe you prefer the Smart Plate TopView. The portable and washable plate sits on top of a countertop dock for weighing food items. An accompanying app uses the camera on your smartphone and image recognition technology to scan your meal. Smartplate then compares the results with USDA’s database of foods and combines that with the weight to estimate your calorie intake.

Back on planet earth, its fair to say we have yet to see a wearable that truly has the ability to automatically track calories. Healbe GoBe has recently put out a second generation of their automatic calorie counting tracker, but their technology is dubious at best.

For now we are stuck with food journal apps such as MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, Noom Coach and HAPIcoach. These apps are as much about learning what’s in our meals, as they are about understanding how what we eat relates to the exercise we get. Unfortunately, as good as they are, they all require you to manually log everything into the phone.

Lets hope we get a wearable in the near future that rids us of this hassle.

Sources: Japan Today, CNET

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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