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Monday, 9 December 2013

Microsoft developing 'smart bra'

There has been a lot of talk this year about how wearable devices like the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Nike FuelBand and Google Glass are leading a new wave in consumer electronics. Last month, Sony even filed a patent for a 'SmartWig' that could provide sat-nav style directions or monitor your health.
Now Microsoft is taking the wearables trend to a whole new level, with a 'smart bra' that can measure your emotional state, cross reference this with your diet patterns and send alerts to your smartphone when you are at high risk of over-eating.
The smart bra is embedded with sensors that measure heart rate and respiration, skin conductance and movement. This data is then sent to a mobile phone application using Bluetooth.
In the research paper, the scientists explain that the bra form factor was chosen because it allows the sensors to sit close to the heart. The sensors are embedded in conductive pads which sit at the centre of the user's sternum, on each side of their ribs and in the bra cup, just under the breast.

The scientists were then able to correlate this real-time data with historical information about the wearer's emotional eating patterns, and trigger an intervention via their mobile phone before they start comfort-eating.
Designs for the smart bra were revealed in a research paper from a team of scientists at Microsoft Research, entitled Food and Mood: Just-in-Time Support for Emotional Eating. The paper focuses on "building a persuasive system for behaviour modiļ¬cation around emotional eating".
Participants wore the bra sensing system and reported their emotions for about 4-6 hours a day over a period of approximately four days. The scientists admitted that it was very tedious for participants to wear the prototyped sensing system, as the boards had to be recharged every 3-4 hours, requiring them to remove their bras.
"Based on these results, we conclude that building a wearable, physiological system is feasible," the scientists said. "However, we will continue to explore how to build a robust, real-world system that stands up to every day challenges with regards to battery life, comfortability, and being suitable for both men and women."
Source: TELEGRAPH


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