Japanese ‘diet glasses’ keep weak-willed wearers from eating too much

By Chelsea Whyte on June 6, 2012 5:33 PM EDT

Donuts
Trying to quit the sweets? Pop on the latest augmented reality glasses and each treat will seem bigger. (Photo: Elaine Ross Baylon)

Trouble dieting? In the near future, it may be as simple as slipping on a pair of goggles.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a pair of 'diet glasses' that trick the wearer into eating less. The camera-equipped goggles beam images of what you see to a computer, which magnifies the size of the food you're holding using augmented reality. Your hand looks its normal size, which makes it seem like you're eating a larger portion than you really are.

Volunteers who used the glasses consumed 10 percent less when the snack in their hand was manipulated with the goggles to look 50 percent bigger. It worked in reverse, too. When the snack in hand was reduced in size, participants ate 15 percent more. Professor Michitaka Hirose, who worked on the project, said 80 percent of participants were fooled by the glasses.

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Hirose told Agence France-Presse that when it comes to trying to create virtual reality, the equipment can get big and cumbersome in order to help change a person's perception of touch. Smaller devices like goggles that fool one or two senses might be able to help solve that problem.

"Reality is in your mind," he said to AFP.

In another experiment, Hirose and his team used scent bottles and visual trickery to convince the goggle-wearers that they were eating a chocolate or strawberry-flavored cookie instead of a the plain biscuit they were actually given.

"How to fool various senses or how to build on them using computers is very important in the study of virtual reality," he told AFP.

The team has no plans yet to commercialize their product, but would like to see if people actually lose weight using their goggles.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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