These 3D-Printed Glasses Can Count Calories

Wearable fitness technology moves from wrists to face. 

University of Passau

Losing weight isn’t easy, but the science behind it is relatively simple. Somehow, you need your body to burn more calories than you eat. To do so, many people use fitness tracking apps to measure how much they’re eating in a day, but unless you’re solely sticking to packaged food, it can get a little bit difficult to measure the calories of the stuff you’re scarfing down — which is where the University of Passau’s new wearable tech comes in.

Unlike other portable calorie-monitors, the glasses don’t use a spectrometer to analyze a food’s density and molecular makeup. Instead, these glasses use the human body itself as the measuring instrument to collect data from tiny sensors in the arms of the glasses that touch the sides of the wearer’s head. The sensors use electromyography, a technique that measures the electrical impulses in muscles, to determine how hard the various muscles in your jaw are working and, from that, what you’re chewing on.

Professor Oliver Amft designed the glasses at the University of Passau in Germany, 3D printing the frames to fit his specially-designed sensors. They were unveiled at the Body Sensor Networks Conference in San Francisco in mid-June but have yet to make it to shelves (as they’re still just a concept design). And they’re not particularly precise — while they’re easily able to distinguish between foods with distinct consistencies, like bananas, cookies, jelly beans, or raw vegetables, they wouldn’t be able to really distinguish between foods of the same squishiness (or lack thereof).

So yes, if you don’t want to Google, “how many calories are in a banana” (it’s about 105), then you can wear these sweet 3D printed frames. Otherwise, you’re stuck with a FitBit like everyone else.

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