Obesity and associated unhealthy eating behaviors have been linked to various diseases, conditions, disabilities, mortality, and high health costs. Healthy eating behaviors fostered at a young age may be carried over into adulthood and have a profound life-long impact. This project is built upon the Virtual Food Buffet that Dr. Cheah’s lab has created in collaboration with UMBC’s Image Research Center. Follow-up validation studies have shown that the food choices made in the virtual buffet correlate significantly with those in authentic food buffets. Our lab is mainly in charge of analyzing the massive amount of biophysical and neurophysical multimodal data alongside the virtual reality interactions. Those rich multimodal time series data provide opportunities for building data science/machine learning/analytics models to gain deep insights into the human physiological, psychological, and neurological processes during food decision-making. We are also exploring VR-based science education in health-related topics such as human physiology, food science, nutrition, and multidisciplinary data science/analytics to support K-12 STEM education and contribute to promoting healthy eating habits among youth for better health outcomes.
Collaborators: Dr. Charissa Cheah (UMBC Psychology) and her team & UMBC Image Research Center
Funding sources: IRC and COIET dean’s office
- Charan Duggirala (IS master student, Fall 2021 – present)
- Pronob Kumar Barman (IS Ph.D. student, Spring 2022 – present)
- Lucky Verma (CSEE master student, Spring 2022)
- Peter Ganunis (Syracuse undergraduate student in CS and filming, Summer 2022)