Microsoft Battles Binge-Eating with High-Tech Bra

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft thinks it has a solution for America's ongoing battle with the belly bulge: a new bra that monitors a user's mood in order to eliminate stress-related binge-eating episodes.

Stress has long been associated with overeating. A February 2012 report from the Harvard Medical School found that stress can result in the releasing of a hormone called cortisol, which in turn leads to an increased appetite. (Source:

To prevent stress from ruining a diet, Microsoft Visualization and Interaction Research Group manager Mary Czerwinski is working on a new bra that she says can prevent the release of cortisol from immediately resulting in people diving head-first into the refrigerator.

High-Tech Bra Monitors Stress Levels

The bra created by Czerwinski's team contains a wide range of sophisticated technologies, from an electrocardiogram to a gyroscope to electrodermal activity sensors. The idea is that these technologies will help a user determine when their stress levels could result in overeating.

Czerwinski says that recent tests involved subjects wearing their own bras outfitted with the special sensors that will eventually make their way into a proper prototype.

All of the information collected through the tests was sent to a smartphone application that allowed the women participating in the study to see how their stress levels affected their eating habits.

Ultimately, the tests helped each participant determine how stress related to their diets.

Czerwinski says the bra is for "women who are emotional overeaters". She added that a mood-reading bra will help these women make better decisions about when and why they eat both healthy and unhealthy foods. (Source:

Underwear Sensors Too Far From Heart

So, why is this technology only being directed at women?

Czerwinski says her team thought about developing special underwear for men, but ultimately found that this would place sensors too far from the heart. That said, the Microsoft team isn't giving up hope on helping both men and women fight stress-related overeating.

"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. (Source:

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