College of Maine researchers invented a tool that would function a launchpad for brand new know-how to ease day by day monitoring of meals and beverage consumption for seniors and folks with persistent well being situations. 

SipBit, created by Nimesha Ranasinghe, an assistant professor of spatial computing, and Chamath Amarasinghe, a Ph.D. scholar of spatial data science and engineering, can pinpoint beverage sort, quantity and sugar content material as soon as submerged in liquid. The system, educated to acknowledge these traits by means of a collection of deep studying algorithms, can establish them by utilizing electrical impedance measurements over a spread of frequencies of a drink.  

Electrical impedance is the opposition provided to the electrical present — shifting charged particles like electrons— by an object. A given set of measurements of {an electrical} impedance correlates with a specific beverage trait, equivalent to whether or not it’s tea, espresso or soda. 

SipBit applies a identified electrical pulse throughout hundreds of frequencies after which measures the impedances by means of the drink, a way known as electrical impedance spectroscopy. After gathering a number of units of measurements, SipBit analyzes them to establish the bodily and chemical properties of a beverage, notably what sort of drink it’s and its quantity and sugar content material. 

Many seniors and folks with strict diets, together with those that have most cancers, coronary heart and kidney ailments, diabetes and different situations, need to manually document day by day what they eat and drink intimately to assist protect their well being, which Ranasinghe says could be tedious, time consuming and open to miscalculation. He and Amarasighe hope to reinforce the know-how in SipBit to establish much more traits, equivalent to sodium (i.e., salt), carbohydrates, protein, and spice content material, and document it on gadgets like computer systems and smartphones to alleviate their burden. They then hope to develop cutlery and drinkware which are geared up with SipBit. 

Watch the video about SipBit produced by the Multisensory Interactive Media Lab to be taught extra. 

“We’re ranging from this basis,” Ranasinghe says. “Our subsequent step is to discover completely different functions and create a sensible cup or tumbler the place individuals can mechanically document their calorie consumption intimately and actual time.” 

SipBit differs from different know-how designed to establish numerous points of meals and drinks by utilizing electrical impedance spectroscopy as a substitute of analyzing photos of what individuals eat and drink earlier than and after meals.

Amarasinghe and Ranasinghe say different gadgets have issues precisely distinguishing drinks of the identical shade and figuring out their quantity and different inside attributes. For instance, they might wrestle to find out whether or not a espresso was a darkish or medium roast or how a lot is the sugar content material of the drink. 

“By electrical impedance, we are able to acknowledge completely different beverage varieties and traits primarily based on completely different signatures; for instance, a cup of Pepsi versus a cup of Coca Cola,” Amarasinghe says. 

Ranasinghe’s analysis primarily focuses on replicating culinary experiences by simulating tastes, smells and different senses by means of multisensory augmented actuality and different applied sciences. His innovations have earned awards and nationwide acclaim. A few of his fashionable gadgets embrace the Digital Cocktail, or Vocktail, Digital Lollipop and Digital Lemonade. 

Ranasinghe says SipBit builds on his earlier analysis as a result of having sensory know-how that may detect and gather knowledge on completely different meals or beverage traits will assist invent new gadgets to simulate these experiences. He says he ultimately hopes to develop a digital house the place individuals can share simulated meals and drinks world wide. 

“We will present new alternatives for human-food interactions,” Ranasinghe says. “One drive I’ve is determining how we are able to add these unexplored senses — odor and style — into our applied sciences. SipBit is a part of an even bigger puzzle of future human-food digital interactions as a result of if you wish to incorporate new senses, you need to invent know-how that may simulate them, sense them and gather knowledge on them.”  

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; [email protected]