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Bite Counter keeps track of every bite you take

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August 4, 2011

The Bite Counter is worn on the wrist and counts the number of bites the wearer takes

The Bite Counter is worn on the wrist and counts the number of bites the wearer takes

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Pedometers can be a great motivational tool for people looking to shed a few pounds by getting active. But since cutting the calorie intake is also an important factor in trimming down researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina have created a device that acts like a pedometer for eating. The Bite Counter is worn like a watch and tracks how many mouthfuls the wearer takes to sound an alarm when they reach for one handful of chips too many.

Once activated at the start of a meal, the Bite Counter works by tracking the wrist roll motion that people use when picking something up and putting it in their mouths. The device then automatically counts how many times this is done until the wearer finishes eating and turns the device off. According to its inventors, the device has been shown to be more than 90 percent accurate in counting bites in laboratory studies, regardless of the user, food, utensil or container.

The Bite Counter tracks the wrist-roll motion of a person's arm while eating

As the Bite Counter only counts the number of bites, and not the amount of calories contained in individual bites, calories are calculated from the bite count using a formula similar to those used in exercise equipment for estimating the number of calories burned.

"Studies have shown that people tend to underestimate what they eat by large margins, mostly because traditional methods rely upon self-observation and reporting," said psychology professor Eric Muth, who created the Bite Counter with electrical and computer engineering professor Adam Hoover. "Our preliminary data suggest that bite count can be used as a proxy for caloric count."

Just like most pedometers, the Bite Counter's counts won't be perfect. Motions such as using a napkin, adjusting glasses or gesticulating while eating can confuse the device, but its creators say that people tend to conduct the same amount of these types of motions meal to meal, so the effect of false counts on the long-term tracking of intake is minimal. They also say that, although some people may eat with both hands - Homer Simpson comes to mind -, most people consume over 90 percent of their food and around 50 percent of their liquid with the dominant hand.

The user is able to set custom bite limits for each meal or for the whole day. Once the limit is reached, an alarm will sound and will continue to sound every time another bite is taken. Data logged on the device can also be downloaded onto a computer via USB for long-term analysis.

Manufacture of the Bite Counter is underway with plans for the device to be sold alongside devices such as activity monitors, heart-rate monitors, GPS watches and pedometers. Until then, a device is available for professional and research use for US$799 from the website of Clemson University startup company, Bite Technologies.

Via cnet

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
4 Comments

I'm not even going to get into the whole validity of the calories in and calories out argument, but has anyone at Clemson heard of an Ipod Nano? Why in God's name would you take the time to develop an ugly watch instead of just an app that runs on a pre-existing device? Their "house arrest" bracelet has only two buttons on it. How easy could it be for anyone to actually navigate this device? Less bites would be taken simply because your food got cold before you got done setting it up. Also, consider the social stigma and impact to the user wearing something like this. Just put a big fat heifer bulls eye T-shirt on that pour girl. "Have a great day at school dear!" At the very least people would think she is suffering from severe fashion issues. At $799 it's a total joke when in 3 hours their computer science department could have manifested an app that sells for 3 bucks and made available to the entire world. Time to bring some designers into this research department who can help make a device like this more realistic. Until then it's just a waste of a good grant.

borhaaa
4th August, 2011 @ 08:32 am PDT

LOL old technology updated. I had bought one of these 25 years ago. It was a counter wherein you counted how many chews and imputed the number. It came with a booklet and sold on sale for $7. Not too effective, guess it is good for training new habits or changing eating patterns.

Herbal Orgasm
4th August, 2011 @ 11:05 am PDT

What a stupid idea this is I meen total FAIL its not how many bites you take but what your eating that counts....

Solestus
4th August, 2011 @ 11:30 am PDT

It's a REALLY stupid idea... It's like buying packs of breathable air - for when you run out.

Mr Stiffy
4th August, 2011 @ 06:29 pm PDT
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