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Wrist Device Counts Every Bite

CLEMSON, S.C.—Two Clemson University researchers created a device that helps people monitor how much they eat. The Bite Counter, which looks like a watch, tracks wrist-roll motion to identify when the wearer has taken a bite of food.

According to its creators, psychology professor Eric Muth and electrical and computer engineering professor Adam Hoover, the device will help diners be more mindful of what they’re eating.

“At the societal level, current weight-loss and maintenance programs are failing to make a significant impact. 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 Muth. “Our preliminary data suggest that bite count can be used as a proxy for caloric count."

The device is not based on what happens in a single bite (i.e. exact grams or specific food nutrients), but in how it simplifies long-term monitoring.

In laboratory studies, the device has been shown to be more than 90 percent accurate in counting bites, regardless of the user, food, utensil or container, according to Hoover. However, there are few existing data on how bite count relates to calorie count or how a bite-counting device could be used for weight loss.

“The device only requires that the user press a button to turn it on before eating and press the button again after the meal or snack is done. In between, the device automatically counts how many bites have been eaten," Hoover said.

The device is currently being tested, and the pair plans to commercialize the Bite Counter.

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