AutoDietary analyses what're eating by listening to you chew.

Our British over-politeness usually dictates that we munch our food as quietly as possible, but AutoDietary is a device that wants to hear every mouthful loud and clear.

The brainchild of Wenyao Xu, a computer scientist at University at Buffalo, AutoDietary is a choker-like necklace packed with a microphone that records the sounds you make when you chew, grind, and swallow. It then sends the data to an app on your phone to create a food diary to help you better manage your diet, along with tips and recommendations to take steps like cut back on snacks, or slow down if you eat too quickly.

The necklace is still very much a fledgling project, yielding an 85% success rate in detecting the right foods when tested on 12 wearers. While it can differentiate between the chewing sound of a cookie and an apple, it can’t actually tell whether you’re eating a healthy or junk-food version of something, like a calorific cookie vs. a healthy bowl of cereals.

Xu believes that an additional biomonitoring device could solve this problem, pairing with the necklace to determine the nutritional value of the food via variables like blood sugar levels, calories, and other meal indicators. Xu will also continue refining the algorithms used by the necklace to differentiate foods to add even more accuracy to his library of chewing noises.

If he nails the tech, Xu believes AutoDietary could be a reliable tool for tackling diabetes, obesity, bowel disorders, and other conditions that demand a careful diet.