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Virtual Reality Diet Goggles Causes Dieters to See Food Differently

Tim Boyer's picture

Virtual reality relies on computer-aided technology to trick the eyes and mind into “seeing” something either differently or that in reality—“just isn’t there.” Researchers from the University of Tokyo have come up with a pair of virtual reality glasses for dieters that tricks the senses into believing that a snack in the hand is actually larger than what it really is—the goal of which is to trick the body into feeling fuller with less food consumed.

While wearing the diet goggles and holding a cookie in your hand, cameras attached to the goggles transmit the cookie and hand images to a computer, which then alters the images that are then displayed on the lenses that the goggle wearer’s eyes are focused on. The altered images make the cookie appear significantly larger while the hand remains normal size giving the illusion that a person is eating a really big cookie.

Volunteers who tried the diet goggles were found to eat approximately 10% fewer cookies when the cookies appeared 50% bigger. By altering the cookie images to where the cookie appeared to be only 2/3 of its normal size, the participants in the study ate 15% more cookies.

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A second type of virtual reality goggles that may be effective in controlling eating is one that not only relies on tricking the brain with what it’s seeing, but smelling as well. Goggles equipped with scent sprays can trick a snacker into believing that a plain cookie in his hand is actually a tasty, calorie-laden chocolate or strawberry cookie. Researchers report that 80% of the people who participated in the scent spraying goggles were fooled as to whether they were eating a plain cookie or a flavorful cookie.

According to a news report by Agence France-Presse (AFP), virtual reality researcher Professor Michitaka Hirose states that, “How to fool various senses or how to build on them using computers is very important in the study of virtual reality. Reality is in your mind."

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Reference: Agence France-Presse news video