Microsoft's prototype bra for women tries to prevent stress-related eating

Microsoft's prototype bra for women tries to prevent stress-related eating

Well this is interesting news. Microsoft is apparently conducting "research" on how technology can help detect stress and help prevent stress-related eating, especially for women. In fact, one of the projects is a bra that has an embedded electrocardiogram and electrodermal activity sensors, as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer.

Microsoft researchers have apparently designed a "stress-busting" bra that features a special material that monitors the wearers moods and helps regulate stress eating. 

"It's mostly women who are emotional overeaters, and it turns out that a bra is perfect for measuring EKG."

"It’s mostly women who are emotional overeaters, and it turns out that a bra is perfect for measuring EKG (electrocardiogram). We tried to do the same thing for men's underwear but it was too far away (from the heart)," Mary Czerwinski stated. She is a cognitive psychologist and senior researcher in visualization and interaction at Microsoft. 

Microsoft recently conducted a test by having a small group of volunteers wear the special bra and give feedback on their moods. The bra featured sensor pads with a microprocessor powered by a 3.7 volt battery and these sensors captured heart rate and respiration with an EKG sensor, skin conductance with an electrodermal activity sensor, and movement with an accelerometer and gyroscope. The data gathered from these sensors were streamed to an app and stored on the researchers' computer.

The premise behind the prototype stress-busting bra is to provide feedback to the wearer so they can see the signs of stress that lead to overeating and perhaps help them make better decisions. Battery life, unfortunately, was limited to four hours. The bra, itself, was said to be comfortable and discrete (no, I didn't get a chance to wear it).

These researchers are looking to create technology that can monitor and understand human emotions and ultimately offer simple prescriptions. We've already seen bracelets with special sensors, so having a special bra was only the logical next step. It will be interesting if this technology can be perfected and eventually made public.

You can read the six page research report here (PDF)Would you wear this type of bra or underwear?