Poor eating habits in children and teenagers can lead to obesity, eating disorders, or life-threatening health problems. Although researchers have studied children’s eating behavior for decades, the research community has had limited technology to support the observation and measurement of fine-grained details of a child’s eating behavior. In this paper, we present the feasibility of adapting the Auracle, an existing research-grade earpiece designed to automatically and unobtrusively recognize eating behavior in adults, for measuring children’s eating behavior. We identified and addressed several challenges pertaining to monitoring eating behavior in children, paying particular attention to device fit and comfort. We also improved the accuracy and robustness of the eating-activity detection algorithms. We used this improved prototype in a lab study with a sample of 10 children for 60 total sessions and collected 22.3 hours of data in both meal and snack scenarios. Overall, we achieved an accuracy exceeding 85.0% and an F1 score exceeding 84.2% for eating detection with a 3-second resolution, and a 95.5% accuracy and a 95.7% F1 score for eating detection with a 1-minute resolution.
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Auracle: Detecting Eating Episodes with an Ear-Mounted Sensor
Shengjie Bi, Tao Wang, Nicole Tobias, Josephine Nordrum, Shang Wang, George Halvorsen, Sougata Sen, Ronald Peterson, Kofi Odame, Kelly Caine, Ryan Halter, Jacob Sorber, David Kotz
In this paper, we propose Auracle, a wearable earpiece that can automatically recognize eating behavior. More specifically, in free-living conditions, we can recognize when and for how long a person is eating.

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