November 30, 2013
No matter how many motivational pictures of Victoria Secret models you put on your fridge or how many New Year’s resolutions you make, sometimes you just can’t help but reach for that biscuit tin, or demolish a whole share-size bag of Kettle chips in one sitting.
There may now be a solution for this vice, developed by the most unlikely corporation in the most unlikely form! Microsoft, the company that brought you Office, Xbox and Windows now brings you a high-tech bra! Allow me to explain…
Microsoft created this prototype undergarment as part of study to analyse “Food and Mood”. The research conducted by the University of Southampton, the University of Rochester and Microsoft focused on “building a persuasive system for behaviour modiﬁcation around emotional eating”.
It consisted of three studies, the first two involving mobile apps that track emotions and the third – and more novel – emotion detecting bra. This piece of underwear, created by Microsoft and the University teams, features sensors in the cups and side panels which detect changes in skin temperature, stress levels and heart rate – all of which seem to precede overeating.
All this data is then fed into a EmoTree a Windows 7 mobile app via Bluetooth technology which then gives you a real-time analysis of your mood in relation to food. It was built as a long term system, whereby the longer you interact with the app and record your mood and emotions around food, they better the analysis would be of why you eat when you do.
The bra was tested on a group of subjects over a four day period and results were very interesting! They found through the use of the app that “6 out of 12 participants were primarily stress eaters”. The results of the study showed that emotions are marked as a moderate to strong cause for eating when you aren’t necessarily hungry and the use of the app seems to help subjects become aware of this. One participant stated:
“I became more conscious when I was about to eat or drink and self-reﬂected on why I was consuming something.”
The Microsoft team are apparently now working on a solution for men in the form of a bracelet, so that the same analysis might be carried out on them.
I have to say an app that told me when I was eating out of boredom, stress or irritation would be very welcome on my phone, though I think I’d prefer wearable tech in the form of a bracelet like the boys, rather than high-tech lingerie! What do you think?
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