Bite Counter Project


Device History

Over the years our device has matured from a sensor wired to a desktop computer sitting next to the eater, to a fully self-contained device manufactured by Bite Technologies, to a free app available for both Android and Apple smartwatches. Contact Adam Hoover if you are interested in hardware or research support.

Version 1 (2007). Tethered sensor. Version 2 (2008). Wireless sensor. Version 3 (2010). Self-contained unit, custom case. Version 4 (2011). Manufactured unit. Version 5 (2015). 2nd generation manufacturing. Version 6 (2017). Apple smartwatch free app. Version 7 (2018). Android smartwatch free app.


Obesity

Facts and health effects according to the World Health Organization. Real-time counters showing there are nearly 3 times as many people suffering from overfeeding than undernourishment in the world, along with the associated medical costs. A significant challenge is the development of tools that can assist with the measurement of energy expenditure and energy intake.


Technology

The Bite Counter device is worn like a watch and tracks wrist motion during eating. By detecting a characteristic pattern, it can identify when a bite of food has been taken. It can monitor intake in real-time and provide feedback to the wearer. The feedback could tell the user to slow down, or tell the user to stop eating after a target intake had been reached, or help the user track long-term eating patterns. The bite counter is a tool to help people track their intake.


Bites as a measure

The following graphs show data that relates bite count to calories. Each data point is for one meal. We tracked 83 people for 2 weeks, each graph shows all the meals for a single person. The data on the left show an approximately 0.4 correlation, while the data on the right show an approximately 0.7 correlation. Our study showed that most people correlate bites to calories in this range.

Isn't a bite of carrots different from a bite of candy? Of course. But nobody gains or loses weight in a single bite, or even a single meal. A common guideline is to lose a pound of weight per week. Our hypothesis is that bite count can serve as a surrogate for calorie count over a period of time. By automating the counting process, and enabling it anywhere, any time, the bite counter can empower individuals to better monitor intake. As with calories, it is possible to count bites for a single meal; but with either measure reduction goals are best evaluated over at least a day.

Bite goals, like calorie goals, should be custom set to the individual. This would be based not only upon the size, gender, age, and activity level of the person, but also based upon the foods typically eaten. For example, a vegetarian may have a higher bite count per day than someone who regularly eats more energy-dense foods. In addition, people tend to eat the same foods week to week. Therefore, setting bite reduction goals over a period of time has the same effect as setting calorie reduction goals.


Data

The Clemson Cafeteria data set was used for several of the experiments described in the below papers.

The data below show 2 participants data for 2 weeks each. The first participant shows a lot of late night eating activity. The second participant shows increased consumption on weekends. Click the images and links below to see example data files, or download our software to view it in calendar format.

sample data file sample data file


Media

How to use a Bite Counter to measure eating intake for a meal .

A laboratory demo of a few bites, showing a signal-to-bite correlation.

Media about this research often appears in the news.


Funding:


Papers about this project:


Bite Counter Project Page / Clemson / ahoover@clemson.edu