Microsoft researchers have come up with a "smart bra" prototype, filled with physiologic senors, capable of monitoring a woman's heart rate to track emotions and prevent overeating.
Studies show that up to half the United States eats more food when they are stressed. Such behavior leads to obesity and comorbidity, and generally becomes a negative cycle of eating more, gaining weight and then getting stressed out about gaining weight — especially during the holidays.
Microsoft researchers have come up with a “smart bra” prototype, filled with physiologic senors, capable of monitoring a woman’s heart rate to track emotions and prevent overeating. The bra can communicate with the wearers smartphone when certain alarms are triggered, reminding her to be aware of stress eating. Microsoft has no plans to sell the bra commercially.
Why did they choose a bra?
“First, we needed a form factor that would be comfortable when worn for long durations,” said scientists in a research paper published online. “The bra form factor was ideal because it allowed us to collect (electrocardiogram data) near the heart.”
The research study followed four women over four days, who wore the smart bra. The bra collected electrocardiogram (EKG) using a sensor under the arm, and an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor tracked perspiration.
The bra was mostly effective in detecting emotional changes, but the bra needed to be “recharged” every 3-4 hours, which limited its use. More research would be required before bringing such a wearable device to consumers.
According to CNN, A Microsoft spokesperson downplayed the bra’s significance.
“The bra sensing system is just one instance of a class of work from a group of Microsoft researchers that is focused on the broader topic of affective computing, or designing devices and services that are sensitive to people’s moods and react accordingly,” the spokesperson said. “While we will continue our research in affective computing, Microsoft has no plans to develop a bra with sensors.”
Something for men?
“We will continue to explore how to build a robust, real-world system that stands up to everyday challenges with regards to battery life, comfortability, and being suitable for both men and women,” the researchers said in the paper.
Reactions to Microsoft Lingerie
Opinions ranged from disgust to applause on social media networks.
“Anyone else offended that Microsoft is devoting its tech research to a bra designed to prevent women from overeating?” tweeted a Seattle woman whose Twitter handle is @cunningminx.
Rachel Happe of Boston added, “If nothing else convinces you we need more women in tech, this should.”
Let us know what you think in the comments below.