The SPLENDID eating detection sensor: Development and feasibility study

Janet van den Boer, Annemiek van der Lee, Lingchuan Zhou, Vasileios Papapanagiotou, Christos Diou, Anastasios Delopoulos, Monica Mars*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The available methods for monitoring food intake-which for a great part rely on self-report-often provide biased and incomplete data. Currently, no good technological solutions are available. Hence, the SPLENDID eating detection sensor (an ear-worn device with an air microphone and a photoplethysmogram [PPG] sensor) was developed to enable complete and objective measurements of eating events. The technical performance of this device has been described before. To date, literature is lacking a description of how such a device is perceived and experienced by potential users. Objective: The objective of our study was to explore how potential users perceive and experience the SPLENDID eating detection sensor. Methods: Potential users evaluated the eating detection sensor at different stages of its development: (1) At the start, 12 health professionals (eg, dieticians, personal trainers) were interviewed and a focus group was held with 5 potential end users to find out their thoughts on the concept of the eating detection sensor. (2) Then, preliminary prototypes of the eating detection sensor were tested in a laboratory setting where 23 young adults reported their experiences. (3) Next, the first wearable version of the eating detection sensor was tested in a semicontrolled study where 22 young, overweight adults used the sensor on 2 separate days (from lunch till dinner) and reported their experiences. (4) The final version of the sensor was tested in a 4-week feasibility study by 20 young, overweight adults who reported their experiences. Results: Throughout all the development stages, most individuals were enthusiastic about the eating detection sensor. However, it was stressed multiple times that it was critical that the device be discreet and comfortable to wear for a longer period. In the final study, the eating detection sensor received an average grade of 3.7 for wearer comfort on a scale of 1 to 10. Moreover, experienced discomfort was the main reason for wearing the eating detection sensor <2 hours a day. The participants reported having used the eating detection sensor on 19/28 instructed days on average. Conclusions: The SPLENDID eating detection sensor, which uses an air microphone and a PPG sensor, is a promising new device that can facilitate the collection of reliable food intake data, as shown by its technical potential. Potential users are enthusiastic, but to be successful wearer comfort and discreetness of the device need to be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere170
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2018


  • Chewing sensor
  • In-ear microphone
  • Mobile phone
  • Obesity prevention
  • Overweight
  • PPG sensor
  • Weight management


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