EarBit: using wearable sensors to detect eating episodes in unconstrained environments
Chronic and widespread diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia require patients to monitor their food intake, and food journaling is currently the most common method for doing so. However, food journaling is subject to self-bias and recall errors, and is poorly adhered to by patients. In this paper, we propose an alternative by introducing EarBit, a wearable system that detects eating moments. We evaluate the performance of inertial, optical, and acoustic sensing modalities and focus on inertial sensing, by virtue of its recognition and usability performance. Using data collected in a simulated home setting with minimum restrictions on participants’ behavior, we build our models and evaluate them with an unconstrained outside-the-lab study. For both studies, we obtained video footage as ground truth for participants activities. Using leave-one-user-out validation, EarBit recognized all the eating episodes in the semi-controlled lab study, and achieved an accuracy of 90.1% and an F1-score of 90.9% in detecting chewing instances. In the unconstrained, outside-the-lab evaluation, EarBit obtained an accuracy of 93% and an F1-score of 80.1% in detecting chewing instances. It also accurately recognized all but one recorded eating episodes. These episodes ranged from a 2 minute snack to a 30 minute meal.