Brown University, Miriam Hospital studying new device that records what you eat

Health

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A new study taking place at Brown University takes the expression “watch what you eat” to a whole new level.

Associate Professor Graham Thomas said they’re currently researching whether a wearable device can help people lose weight.

Thomas said a new device developed at the University of Alabama, called an “Automatic Ingestion Monitor,” can automatically monitor people’s eating habits. The device is a sensor that attaches to a pair of eyeglasses.

A study of the new device is being conducted in several phases and involves a team of universities and organizations, including Brown and The Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center.

Thomas said in phase one, which is about to start, participants will wear the device for a week.

“We will use the data in a machine-learning algorithm to teach it how to learn folk’s patterns of eating,” Thomas said.

The device, according to Thomas, is also supposed to track bad eating habits, such as not eating much during the day and overeating at night.

If the first phase of the study goes well, phase two will allow participants to hook the device up to Bluetooth so they can receive eating times and suggestions on their smartphone.

Post-Doctoral Fellow Stephanie Goldstein said she’s helping with the study because of her passion for health and technology.

She said the setup for the study is painless and the device is easy to use.

“You really quickly forget about it,” Goldstein said. “I just ate my apple and I felt really good about it and ready to move on with my day,” Goldstein said.

The study will likely be conducted over the course of several years.

Learn more about the study »

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