Scientists are reportedly developing a “smart necklace” that has the potential to help smokers quit cigarettes.
The monitoring device, which is being developed by researchers at the Northwestern University in the U.S., is called SmokeMon.
The study on the promising new device was published in the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies.
The necklace is made of a small blue box that conceals heat-sensing technology. However, it could be fashioned in any way to suit people’s different styles in time.
Researchers aim to use the device to monitor smokers when they light one up and suggest the assistance they require to quit the habit.
“For many people who attempt to quit smoking, a slip is one or two cigarettes or even a single puff. But a slip is not the same as a relapse (going back to smoking regularly),” senior author Nabil Alshurafa, a behavioral and computer scientist from Northwestern University, said, ScienceAlert reported. “A person can learn from slips, by gaining awareness that they did not fail, they just had a temporary setback. To avoid a relapse, we can then begin to shift their focus on how we handle their triggers and deal with cravings.”
The new technology has an edge over other prototype devices in that it detects smoking more accurately and discreetly than others.
Battery-operated, the device employs thermal sensors to detect heat radiating from a lit cigarette’s tip and collects data on each cigarette. Information like the number of puffs taken, the amount of smoke inhaled, and the time between puffs is collected.
In the study, 19 people were analyzed for their smoking behavior while wearing the smart necklace. The study conducted 115 sessions, both in a laboratory and in the real world.
The main focus of testing the necklace outside the lab was to see if it made smokers uncomfortable in public, and if it elicited a response from bystanders.
Following analysis, it was found most participants did not report any interference with their daily life or smoking behavior on account of the device.
One participant in the study stated, “I had one friend who inquired about what the device was recording, and he seemed satisfied when I told him it wasn’t recording audio or video.”
For future research, the authors have provided an open-source data-processing platform, with the goal to evaluate smoking behavior.
“Now we can begin to test the effectiveness of this device in improving the success rate of smoking cessation programs by preventing relapse in smokers who are planning to quit,” Alshurafa said, as per the outlet. “We will be able to test whether real-time feedback and interventions can be more effective than usual care.”