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What the world needs is a bra that alerts you to when you’re overeating, because apparently only women eat too much food when they’re stressed. Researchers at Microsoft have been working on a sensor-equipped bra that monitors mood and stress levels. Connected to a mobile app, the bra can let you know when your mood might tend towards overeating. Society and the media already give women enough weight anxiety, no we need our bra weighing in on the issue too?
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Mary Czerwinski, a research manager with Microsoft’s Visualization and Interaction Research Group, has been working on the relationship between food and mood and wanted to develop a system that would help curb our appetites when stressed out. Czerwinski along with a number of other researchers working on a study called, Food and Mood, which studied ways to create a ‘just-in-time’ support system for emotional overeating. For some reason, their study focussed on women only. “It’s mostly women who are emotional overeaters, and it turns out that a bra is perfect for measuring EKG (electrocardiogram),” Czerwinski told Discovery News.
The team developed a pair of sensors that could be inserted into a bra that would monitor mood and stress levels. Sensors monitored heart rate and respiration with an EKG sensor, checked on skin conductance with an electrodermal activity sensor, and analyzed movement with an accelerometer and gyroscope. Data was sent to the wearer’s smart phone via an app to alert them of their stress levels and then also gave them warnings about overeating. The study, which only followed a small set of volunteers, seems incomplete as the bra sensors had to be charged every 4 hours making wearing and incorporating them into normal day-to-day life challenging. How can mood be accurately attested if every 4 hours the women are running “to the bathroom to charge their bra”?
Sensor-equipped undies for both women and men could be quite revealing with regards to stress and mood. However the study’s focus on overeating in women only seems quite sexist. The researchers claim that such sensors would not work in men’s underwear because it’s too far from the heart (there’s a joke in there somewhere). Overeating can certainly be a problem in both sexes, but we don’t need our bras giving us a hard time if we reach for some chocolate when we’re stressed out. Let’s focus on a more well-rounded technological solution that helps both women and men de-stress.
[Via Discovery News]