Bitwear AccuBite

The IDTechEx conference was held in Santa Clara, CA November 18 and 19, 2015, covering a wide range of topics including wearable devices and related technology such as sensors, printed electronics, and energy harvesting. This is one of the many items of interest from that conference.

BitWear Labs is a spin-off from the University of Alabama, and one of its first two products is a smart shoe insole that tracks your  activity. Its other product, AccuBite, is a bit more unusual. Instead of just monitoring the energy that you burn through physical activity throughout the day, it also measures your energy intake.

While they describe it as a “Bluetooth headset,” you actually wear the device around your neck. You can tuck it under your collar and nobody is likely to notice that you’re even wearing it. It has motion detectors — similar to other activity trackers — but what is different is that it has sophisticated algorithms that can detect the difference between different motions. For example, it can tell the difference between when you’re speaking and when you’re chewing or drinking. As a result, the system can estimate how much food you eat during the course of the day. It also counts your steps and other physical activity.

According to the developers, the system learns from your activity, and so the food intake estimates become more accurate over time. A companion smartphone app reports on your progress, and helps you track your progress to your goals. Overall, it’s an intriguing design, but it remains to be seen whether there is consumer design for this as a stand alone product. It is possible that the company’s intellectual property will prove to be its main asset, as the software side could be incorporated into other wearable products (such as a smart shirt) that might have broader appeal due to more functionality.