The holidays are here, and with them comes high-calorie foods, stress we are all unaccustomed to, and the danger of overeating. While these are not exclusively female problems, research does show that women are more likely than men to overeat as a result of their stress levels increasing. As such, engineers and designers at Microsoft Research recently developed a stress-busting bra that can help monitor women’s stress levels and their resulting overeating as a means of combating the problem.

The bra is made of a special material that helps monitor the wearer’s moods, and features specially-designed sensor pads that can sample up to eight bio-signal channels simultaneously. Bio-signals monitored include heart rate, respiration, and skin conductance. The reason for doing this is to keep track of the wearer’s moods, and report this information to an iPhone app. From there, the wearer can determine if they are eating as a result of stress or because she’s actually hungry. This also helps predict physiological changes that accompany eating based on information supplied by both the bra and the wearer herself.

The idea here is that eventually there might be a way to prevent emotional eating. You’ve seen countless TV shows and movies where a woman is upset about something and immediately sits down with a carton of ice cream and a spoon. Those stereotypes come from somewhere, but unfortunately they are contributing to the obesity problem worldwide. With any luck, the use of sensors such as this bra can help women overcome their need to binge eat when they’re upset or under stress, which can hopefully lead to them making better food choices.

These bras are not commercially available, and are certainly undergoing further testing before that becomes a possibility. As it stands now, the sensors require recharging (they run off a 3.7 volt battery) after just four hours of use, so they aren’t terribly practical. But it’s something to keep an eye on.

Source: Gizmodiva

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