Stressed woman
Microsoft has created a smart bra to help women avoid stress -related overeating.RenaudPhoto/Flickr

Microsoft has created a smart bra to help women avoid stress-related overeating.

The prototype consisting of an electrocardiogram (EKG) sensor, electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope, is capable of measuring mood levels and sending warning signals to the user while detecting stress level. The data thus delivered through a phone app signals if the user is at risk of emotional eating, BBC reported

The innovation is based on the findings of the researchers that some emotional factors can also contribute to food cravings among women. Development of the product involved three stages. In the first stage, researchers analysed emotional eating patterns among women. For this purpose, they recruited a group of female participants. The women reported emotions and recorded eating patterns using an app called EmoTree. Based on these findings, researchers examined the possibility of an intervention technique for emotional eating. In the third stage, they developed a wearable system with the help of physiological sensor data that can help detect emotions through a mobile app.

Two factors motivated researchers to design the product in the shape of a bra. The first one was to ensure comfort while wearing the device for long hours. Secondly, the bra design made it easy to record EKG as it was very close to the heart.  

For testing the product, four women wore the bra for four days and reported emotions, every four to six hours daily. The EmoTree mobile app was also used.

Though the prototype was a grand success in detecting stress-related overeating, it will take some more years before its commercial launch as researchers are planning to improve the recharging system of the product. "It was very tedious for participants to wear our prototyped sensing system, as the boards had to be recharged every 3-4 hours," the authors wrote.

The innovation has been reported in a paper titled "Food and Mood: Just-in-Time Support for Emotional Eating."

Wearable devices have been the latest trend in technology. In November, a team of American researchers developed a device called Wristify that can help people experience the temperature they wish for - either a cooling or heating effect. In October, a Greek advertising agency called OgilvyOne Athens developed a "tweetingbra" that sends breast-examination reminders to women while they unhook it. Earlier in April, three students in south India launched an anti-rape underwear and lingerie that give assaulters a 3800kv electric shock. With the help of built-in GPs, the garment will send alerts to parents and authorities. In October 2012, Lifeline Biotechnologies launched their "smart bra" called First Warning Systems that detect breast cancer early.