THE tech-heads at Microsoft are working on a smart bra that can monitor the heart and skin – and which may even combat overeating.
Prototype bras used sensors embedded in the material to detect changes to the body’s stress levels, and alert the wearer.
High stress can trigger emotional overeating in both women and men, although a Microsoft executive told Discovery News that it was mainly women who succumbed.
In a paper outlining the results of a pilot project involving four women who wore the prototype garments, researchers said information on stress levels delivered in a timely fashion “served as a health intervention to encourage the person to be more active or consume less food”.
“The bra form-factor was ideal because it allowed us to collect EKG (electrocardiagram) near the heart,” the researchers stated. However the prototype was limited because its batteries only lasted for four hours at a time, they said.
“We conclude that building a wearable, physiological system (to combat overeating) is feasible.
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,” the researchers said.
In other news relating to the convergence of technology and undergarments, a Japanese toy manufacturer is reporting strong sales after releasing a series of underwear for mobile phones.
The snug rubber items fit over the base of a mobile phone, protecting the on switch from accidental pressings. They make a phone look less naked – and yet somehow more sexual – at the same time.