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Nina In New York: ‘Diet Glasses’ Augmented Reality A Winning Idea

Tokyo University professor Michitaka Hirose (R) and his team developed a camera-equipped special goggle, which makes cookies bigger to help users' diet at his laboratory in Tokyo on June 2, 2012. Hirose conducted an experiment, asking examinees to eat as many cookies as they want with and without the glasses. The results showed they ate 9.3 percent less on average with the goggle showing cookies 1.5 times bigger than they actually are and ate 15 percent more with cookies looking two-thirds of their real size.( credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

Tokyo University professor Michitaka Hirose (R) and his team developed a camera-equipped special goggle, which makes cookies bigger to help users’ diet at his laboratory in Tokyo on June 2, 2012. Hirose conducted an experiment, asking examinees to eat as many cookies as they want with and without the glasses. The results showed they ate 9.3 percent less on average with the goggle showing cookies 1.5 times bigger than they actually are and ate 15 percent more with cookies looking two-thirds of their real size.( credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

NYC Fitness

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
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By Nina Pajak

Did you hear about the Google goggles that use augmented reality to overlay what’s actually in front of your face with Internet crap like reviews and bubbles and maps and junk?

Yeah, I don’t get it either. And for weeks since hearing about it, I’ve been raging on about all the ills of society as they can be measured by the broad desire to render the world more like a computer screen.

Augmented reality? More like Disrupted Reality. Or Diminished Reality. Or Diluted Reality. Or just…totally…stupid… nerd reality! I says to ‘em, I says. Blurg!

More: NYC’s 6 Best Salads

But now, researchers in Japan (where else?) have come up with an application for the technology that actually does appear to enhance our lives as it simultaneously interferes with them in a way that would have made our ancestors wondering what in the world they were breaking their backs for after all.

Introducing, “diet glasses.”

145706139 Nina In New York: Diet Glasses Augmented Reality A Winning Idea

(credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

Magically (or scientifically, whatever), wearers of the glasses will be tricked into seeing food they’re holding look magnified, while their hands will not appear to have proportionately changed in size. Volunteer testers wound up eating 10 percent less of the cookies they held when they were made to look 50 percent bigger than they are. Conversely, they pulled a switcheroo and found that the volunteers ate 15% more when the cookie looked two-thirds smaller than normal size.

More: NYC’s 5 Best Cookies

I would imagine this would lead to lots of accidental, self-inflicted finger-biting. But aside from that minor and surmountable side effect, this seems quite brilliant.

I can’t really envision eating less just because something looks too big for me. If anything, I view it as a challenge and then wind up doubled over in painful, gluttonous regret. But I’m sure there’s a learning curve here. It’s especially interesting news in light of the current “soda war” which is being waged in our city.

Perhaps to cure us fatso Americans of our affection for cartoonishly-sized beverage portions, movie theaters should integrate this diet trickery into our 3-D glasses. That way, we can all buy the gallons of soft drinks we desire, but we’ll stop drinking the whole thing when the cup begins to look like an endless punch bowl in our puny grips. Alternately, places can sell us the small sodas and fool us into think they’re our beloved 32-ouncers. Best of all worlds!

Incidentally, the genius behind all of this, Professor Michitaka Hirose, is also developing a headset which manipulates smells and visuals into leading people to believe the flavorless biscuit they’re eating is actually chocolate or strawberry or some other wonderful treat. I see great potential for dieters and parents with broccoli-hating kids everywhere.

Next up: literal beer goggles. We’re on the brink of the next sexual revolution.

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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