In a year or two, augmented reality (AR) headsets such as Google Glass
may double up as a virtual dieting pill. New research from the University of Tokyo shows that a very simple AR trick can reduce the amount that you eat by 10% — and yes, the same trick, used in the inverse, can be used to increase food consumption by 15%, too.
The AR trick is very simple: By donning the glasses, the University of Tokyo’s special software “seamlessly” scales up the size of your food. In the video below, you see a person picking up what seems to be an Oreo cookie, and then the software automatically scales it up to 1.5 times its natural size. Using a deformation algorithm, the person’s hand is manipulated so that the giant Oreo appears (somewhat) natural. In testing, this simple trick was enough to reduce the amount of food eaten by 10%.
In the same video you can also see the inverse effect applied, shrinking the Oreo down to two-thirds its natural size. In testing, this increased food consumption by 15%. As you can see, the technology currently requires the use of blue screen chroma keying, but moving forward the Hirose-Tanikawa Lab
research team hopes to improve the software so that it could work anywhere.
This new research dovetails neatly with an area of nutritional science that has received a lot of attention in the United States of Obesity recently: That the size of the serving/plate/cup/receptacle directly affects your intake. It has been shown time and time again that large plates and large servings encourage you to consume more. In one study, restaurant-goers ate more food when equipped with smaller forks; but at home, the opposite is true. In another study, it was shown that you eat more food if the color of your plate matches what you’re eating.
The fact is, there’s a lot more to dieting than simply reducing your calorific intake and exercising regularly. Your state of mind as you sit down to eat, and your perception of what you’re eating, are just as important — which is exciting news, because both of those factors can be hacked
. Until now, the inherent bulk of computers has prevented them from meddling with your perceptions of reality — but with smartphones, and soon AR headsets
, that is beginning to change. For now it’s just your vision, but through other augmentations and implants it shouldn’t be too difficult to alter your perception of touch, taste, and smell.
Research paper: doi:10.1145/2207676.2207693
– “Augmented perception of satiety: controlling food consumption by changing apparent size of food with augmented reality”http://www.extremete...l-of-the-future