A View from Nidhi Subbaraman
AR Eyewear Fools Your Belly (and Brain) Into Feeling Full
The headset alters how big or small food appears, and influenced how much wearers ate.
Of all the diet tricks out there, Tokyo researchers may have hit upon the most devious: just lie to your brain.
That’s because our food cravings seem to be determined, at least in part, by how our meal looks,Takuji Narumi, one of system’s builders, explained to Diginfo: “We found that when food looks bigger, you feel full right away, but when it looks small, you don’t feel full even if you eat a lot.”
In their demo video, a person wearing the AR headset sits in front of a blue screen holding what looks like an Oreo. He sits still and stares at it, and the Oreo appears to grow in his hand (a laptop to his side lets the audience follow along).
A dozen subjects tested the system, Narumi says. When their food appeared 1.5 times its natural size, the testers at 10 percent less. On the other hand, when researchers “shrank” the food to two-thirds its natural size, their subjects ate 15 percent more.
The setup is a bit cumbersome to use at the moment, but the goal is to spruce it up and slim it down so similar headsets can be used at the dining table. Healthy food will be programmed to appear smaller, and less healthy dishes will look bigger than they really are. Baby carrots anyone?
Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.Subscribe today