Feds Spent $148,379 to Create ‘Diet Choker’ That Monitors Eating Habits

The federal government helped finance the creation of a so-called “diet choker” that monitors the eating habits of the wearer.

WearSens, created by engineers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), is a necklace that can automatically detect when a person is eating or smoking, and can send alerts to a smart phone telling the user to stop.

The invention received a $148,379 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2013 to create a sensory necklace to “fill the need of automatically detecting swallows and eating patterns.”

Researchers at UCLA, led by Majid Sarrafzadeh, the director of the Embedded and Reconfigurable Computing Lab of the university’s computer science department, released the findings of a pilot study on the necklace this month.

CBS News called the invention “slightly odd.”

“These sensors track the vibration that occurs in the neck when a person chews food and swallows their drink,” the report said. “This ‘diet choker,’ designed by engineers at University of California Los Angeles, can even sense what type of food you’re eating since something crunchy is likely to make the neck vibrate more than food that’s soft. The sensors can also determine if a person is downing a hot or cold drink.”

New York Magazine described the necklace as a “choke collar to judge your eating habits.”