Science and Tech


Microsoft 'Smart Bra' Aims To Curb Overeating

A new bra sends signals to a smartphone app to warn the wearer of overeating.
Posted at 5:40 PM, Dec 03, 2013

Finally, a new kind of support from bras — we're talking about the emotional kind. Microsoft has developed a bra that could help women stop overeating when they're stressed. How? 

"The high-tech undergarment features sensors in the cup pockets and side panels that detect signs like changes in your heart rate, skin temperature or stress levels, which indicate you're overeating." (via KTRK)

"All of the info is sent via Bluetooth to your smartphone. An app sends you a real-time mood-triggered eating alert. The app can also give you suggestions on ways to redirect your brain to do something else." (via KPRC)

The obvious hope for this smart undergarment is that when people are made aware of their motivation for eating, they can make better choices. 

A newsletter from Harvard Health Publicationlinks emotions to unhealthy eating, saying, "Stress, the hormones it unleashes, and the effects of high-fat, sugary "comfort foods" push people toward overeating ... and weight gain." 

Microsoft's technology was tested on a group of women for several hours a day for four days, with the mood data sent to their smartphone apps and recorded for the scientists. Initial prototypes, however, aren't quite perfect.  (via CNET)

"The designers still have to work out a few kinks, like the batteries that you have to change after four hours." 

Mary Czerwinski, one of the developers, said this smart bra served two main functions. First, she says, "It's mostly women who are emotional overeaters." Second, bra placement is perfect to measure heart rates. (via Discovery)

She said the researchers attempted to build a similar product for men but that men's underwear is worn just too far away from the heart.