Smart-U: Smart Utensils Know What You Eat

Qianyi Huang Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
Zhice Yang ShanghaiTech University, P.R. China
Qian Zhang Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong


Mobile sensing enables unobtrusive monitoring of our daily activities, sleep quality, breathing and heart rate, revolutionizing the health-care system. Dietary information is also a critical dimension for health management but has no convenient solution yet. In this paper, we ask whether we can track meal composition unobtrusively. We introduce Smart-U, a new utensil design that can recognize meal composition during the intake process, without user intervention or on-body instruments. Smart-U makes use of the fact that light spectra reflected by foods are dependent on the food ingredients. By analyzing the reflected light spectra, Smart-U can recognize what food is on top of the utensil. We describe the prototype design of Smart-U and the food recognition algorithm. We demonstrate that Smart-U can recognize 20 types of foods with 93% accuracy. It can work robustly under different conditions. We envision that Smart-U can enable automatic food intake tracking, and provide personalized food suggestions based on nutrient recommendations and prior consumption. In the long run, Smart-U can contribute to the study of chronic diseases.

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