This AutoDietary smart necklace counts calories through sound

Innovative food tracking system knows what you're chewing
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Food tracking is one of the biggest challenges for Fitbit, Jawbone and the rest of the fitness tracker fraternity. Counting calories by choosing from a food database or taking pictures is just too arduous a process.

A team of researchers from the Northeastern University in China are developing a solution to simplify the process of measuring calorie intake and they've come up with AutoDietary.

Essential reading: The truth about nutrition tracking

Here's how it works: the wearable smart necklace packs a high fidelity microphone that records the sounds of what you're eating and as the food is swallowed. That data is then sent to your smartphone over Bluetooth.

Those recordings are matched against a catalogue of sounds, put together by scientist Wenyao Xu, that foods make when we bite, grind or swallow them.

Xu and the research team tested the reliability of the setup by asking 12 subjects, male and female, aged 13 to 49, to chomp down six different types of food and to drink some water. That included apples, carrots, potato chips, cookies, peanuts and walnuts. The AutoDietary system was able to correctly identify the food 85 percent of the time.

While the necklace has the obvious benefits of keeping an eye on how much you eat, Xu believes it could also one day help diabetes sufferers, prevent bowel disorders and similar ailments by keeping a closer eye on what's being eaten.

It's still very much in the development stages and Xu says that he needs to continue to refine algorithms and increase the library of sounds. It's also currently not capable of identifying foods like soup. Xu feels this could be solved by adding an additional bio-monitoring device that could determine the food item via blood sugar levels and similar measurements.

As innovative as it sounds, the AutoDietary system looks like a complex one to pull off and we'd be pretty surprised if this is around people's neck anytime in the near future. For now, calorie counting remains a wearable tech Holy Grail.

Source: TechXplore

This AutoDietary smart necklace counts calories through sound

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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