NeckSense: A Multi-Sensor Necklace for Detecting Eating Activities in Free-Living Conditions


We present the design, implementation, and evaluation of a multi-sensor, low-power necklace, NeckSense, for automatically and unobtrusively capturing fine-grained information about an individual’s eating activity and eating episodes, across an entire waking day in a naturalistic setting. NeckSense fuses and classifies the proximity of the necklace from the chin, the ambient light, the Lean Forward Angle, and the energy signals to determine chewing sequences, a building block of the eating activity. It then clusters the identified chewing sequences to determine eating episodes. We tested NeckSense on 11 participants with and 9 participants without obesity, across two studies, where we collected more than 470 hours of data in a naturalistic setting. Our results demonstrate that NeckSense enables reliable eating detection for individuals with diverse body mass index (BMI) profiles, across an entire waking day, even in free-living environments. Overall, our system achieves an F1-score of 81.6% in detecting eating episodes in an exploratory study. Moreover, our system can achieve an F1-score of 77.1% for episodes even in an all-day-long free-living setting. With more than 15.8 hours of battery life, NeckSense will allow researchers and dietitians to better understand natural chewing and eating behaviors. In the future, researchers and dietitians can use NeckSense to provide appropriate real-time interventions when an eating episode is detected or when problematic eating is identified.

ACM Interactive Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technology
Venue Video Info Best Presentation Award Runner Up – Audience Choice