Do you ever go to a restaurant, eat a plate of paneer butter masala, finish it entirely and then feel guilty? We all do it at one point or another, especially when we're watching what we eat. Researchers at Tokyo University have developed a pair of augmented reality glasses that fool your brain into watching your portion sizes. According to Discovery News, when someone wears the glasses and looks at food, the glasses will send images of the food to a computer, which will magnify the image and send the new image back to the glasses. The user essentially sees the food that he or she is holding as much bigger and much too much to eat whole. The computer manages to keep everything else in the environment, like the user's hand the same size, so it only appears as though the size of the food is bigger.
The researchers found that when the biscuits that the users were holding were magnified to 50 percent more of their size, the users ate 10 percent lesser. When the biscuits were shrunk to two thirds of their size, users ended up eating 15 percent more. Professor Michitaka Hirose at the university's graduate school of information science and technology said that he was particularly interested in how computers could be used to trick the human mind. He said, “How to fool various senses or how to build on them using computers is very important in the study of virtual reality.” He said that when augmented reality is used to cater to more complex senses, like touch, the result is that you are stuck with some bulky equipment. However, when one sense is used to fool another, the equipment is much more simple.
Professor Michitaka Hirose also is testing a product, which fools a user into thinking that someone they are eating is something else. So for instance, the headgear used in this experiment uses visual manipulation and scents to make a wearer think that the biscuit that they are eating is really a chocolate milkshake. The Professor says that they have no plans to commercialize the product, but that 80 percent of the users were fooled. He wants to look into whether people who are losing weight would like to have a product like this one. Alternatively, the product can also be used by those trying to eat more or put on weight as the glasses can trick you into thinking you're eating a smaller quantity of food.