Wearable devices have mushroomed in popularity in recent years, with all manner of bodily monitoring now possible. One area that hasn’t taken off is on the head, with devices such as those used to monitor our sleep too cumbersome to be used during our waking hours.
A team of researchers are attempting to rectify that by developing an easy to wear radio-based system to help us track both our mental health and our dietary habits.
The device, called Head Scan, comes with a couple of antennas that go onto the shoulder of the user, and a wearable device that can go anywhere on the body. The antennas detect movement in the jaw via radio waves, and the device then uses smart algorithms to predict eating habits and social interactions from these movements.
“HeadScan uses wireless radio signals to sense the targeted activities and provides a nonintrusive and privacy-preserving solution that overcomes the drawbacks of current wearable technologies,” the research team said.
The data generated by the device can be analyzed by both the user themselves or their healthcare professionals.
“For example, it can monitor how often a person eats,” the team say. “Dietary monitoring is important. However, humans are not good at tracking these sorts of things. Fortunately computers are.”
The developers also believe that the device can provide more accurate readings because it is much harder for the user to fool it into thinking they have eaten when they haven’t, which is something that is certainly possible with more traditional means of tracking diet.
The device is currently continuing testing, but the team hope that it will eventually be available on the market in a couple of years time.
I wrote earlier this year about a sweatband that can monitor for things such as dehydration, and this is another example of how wearable devices are getting both more useful and less intrusive. It’s certainly an interesting trend to monitor.