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Microsoft developing ‘smart’ bra

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Microsoft developing a ‘smart’ bra(CNN) — It’s no longer enough to have smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs and smart cars. Now a tech company wants to bring artificial intelligence to lingerie.

Researchers at Microsoft are developing a “smart bra” embedded with physiological sensors that would monitor a woman’s heart activity to track her emotional moods and combat overeating. The sensors would signal the wearer’s smartphone, which would flash a warning message to help her step away from the fridge and make better diet decisions.

So — why a bra, exactly?

“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.”

Research has shown that many people reach for calorie-rich foods like doughnuts when they’re feeling stressed, bored, discouraged or on edge. There’s a reason it’s called comfort food.

For the research paper, scientists from Microsoft, the University of Rochester and the University of Southampton in the UK interviewed women who said that interventions — being alerted to their emotional states — helped them identify triggers for emotional eating and eat a healthier diet.

The researchers then conducted a study in which four women wore the sensors in their bras for four days to monitor their vital signs. An electrocardiogram (EKG) sensor under the arm measured their heart rate, while an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor tracked their perspiration.

More research is needed before a smart brassiere — Microsoft’s Secret, anyone? — ever becomes a viable product. The sensors needed to be recharged every three to four hours, which limited how long the bra could be worn.

But the researchers determined the bra was mostly effective in detecting its wearer’s emotional changes and, potentially, helping her eat less.

And in the future, men may not be left out.

“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.

2 comments

  • Jude

    What?! Wearing or carrying electronic devices long term against your body, even when there is fabric between it and you, carries a known moderate to high risk of developing cancer in that area. They should pay attention to all the cancer cases cropping up in women's breasts who carry their phones in their bras. Not coincidentally, the malignancy is located exactly in the outline of the phone.

  • Get Real

    So let me get this straight, women need to wear a device to keep them from emotional eating. Am I the only one who finds this offensive? Pretty sure that men over indulge as well, they going to invent a jock strap that will tell a guy when he's not allowed to pop open another Bud Lite?

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