In an exciting development in personal health technology, Samsung has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a wearable device specifically designed to measure calorie intake.
The patented technology uses the power of the skin’s spectral noise to estimate a person’s calorie expenditure. This represents a transformative leap in the science of nutrition tracking and calorie estimation.
Imagine a world where manually logging calorie intake is a thing of the past and the convenient device on your wrist makes it effortless. This could be a massive game-changer provided it delivers on what it promises. And makes it a real wearable. Because at the moment it’s just a patent.
So far we haven’t had anything comparable. The only exception is Healbe. A few years ago they launched their own calorie counter. However, the wearable was never widely used.
We actually reviewed Healbe GoBe 2 in 2018 and found it a disappointment due to its underwhelming technology. Its purpose was to reduce the hassle of tracking calories. However, the reliability of the device’s bioimpedance sensor calorie calculations was questionable. Additionally, the time lag in providing these numbers made it impossible to verify the accuracy of the readings. Finally, due to its bulkiness, the device was not aesthetically pleasing enough to wear with short-sleeved clothing.
But Samsung is a much bigger name than Healbe and has more funding for research. And its technology works in a completely different way.
The patent: measurement of the user’s skin spectrum
Samsung’s recently filed patent with the USPTO is number 11,653,836. The filing describes a device that uses an intriguing method of estimating caloric intake.
Typical methods for such estimates are based on biomolecule measurements such as blood glucose. However, this device measures the user’s skin spectrum, which refers to the range of electromagnetic waves (light) that the skin absorbs, reflects or emits.
Image source: USPTO
An on-board spectrum meter captures this skin spectrum, and a processor then interprets the noise or variation in that spectrum. By comparing this noise to a reference noise (derived from a database of fasting spectra from multiple users), the device is able to estimate the calories burned by the user.
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In addition, the processor is configured to make adjustments based on other factors such as the user’s health and calorie consumption information. For example, it takes into account data on previous or current illnesses, medication information, training duration and the time between the end of the training and the time of the calorie measurement. This allows for a highly personalized estimation and offers users a uniquely tailored health monitoring experience.
To extend its functionality even further, this wearable device can communicate with a calorie management device. This allows the calorie management device to train the correlation model used to estimate calories, improving the device’s accuracy over time.
In a world increasingly concerned with personal health, fitness and well-being, Samsung’s new patent could be game-changing. By providing real-time calorie burn data, there is potential to enable users to make much more informed decisions about their health and fitness.
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