College of Maine researchers invented a tool that might function a launchpad for brand spanking new expertise to ease each day monitoring of meals and beverage consumption for seniors and other people 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 info science and engineering, can pinpoint beverage kind, quantity and sugar content material as soon as submerged in liquid. The system, skilled to acknowledge these traits by a collection of deep studying algorithms, can determine them through the use of electrical impedance measurements over a spread of frequencies of a drink.  

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

SipBit applies a identified electrical pulse throughout 1000’s of frequencies after which measures the impedances by the drink, a way referred to as electrical impedance spectroscopy. After accumulating a number of units of measurements, SipBit analyzes them to determine the bodily and chemical properties of a beverage, significantly what kind of drink it’s and its quantity and sugar content material. 

Many seniors and other people with strict diets, together with those that have most cancers, coronary heart and kidney illnesses, diabetes and different situations, should manually report each day what they eat and drink intimately to assist protect their well being, which Ranasinghe says will be tedious, time consuming and open to miscalculation. He and Amarasighe hope to reinforce the expertise in SipBit to determine much more traits, equivalent to sodium (i.e., salt), carbohydrates, protein, and spice content material, and report it on gadgets like computer systems and smartphones to alleviate their burden. They then hope to develop cutlery and drinkware which are outfitted 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 totally different functions and create a wise cup or tumbler the place individuals can mechanically report their calorie consumption intimately and actual time.” 

SipBit differs from different expertise designed to determine varied elements of meals and drinks through the use of electrical impedance spectroscopy as a substitute of analyzing footage 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 could 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. 

“Via electrical impedance, we will acknowledge totally different beverage sorts and traits based mostly on totally 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 multisensory augmented actuality and different applied sciences. His innovations have earned awards and nationwide acclaim. A few of his well-liked gadgets embody the Digital Cocktail, or Vocktail, Digital Lollipop and Digital Lemonade. 

Ranasinghe says SipBit builds on his earlier analysis as a result of having sensory expertise that may detect and accumulate knowledge on totally different meals or beverage traits will assist invent new gadgets to simulate these experiences. He says he finally hopes to develop a digital house the place individuals can share simulated meals and drinks around the globe. 

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

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; [email protected]