A smart bra designed to prevent emotionally-triggered overeating in women has been developed by the University of Southampton.
The bra detects the emotional state of the wearer through removable sensors that monitor the heart and skin activity and intervenes if when she might be about to reach for food.
Data from the prototype is analysed by a smartphone app, which can highlight when ‘emotional eating’ is most likely to occur and offer advice to the wearer, such as carrying out calming breathing exercises.
MC Schraefel, professor of Electronics and Computer Science and head of the human performance design lab, helped develop the bra.
He commented: “Emotional state, habitual practices, like snacking in front of the TV or grabbing a cookie when stressed, often go undetected by us – that’s the nature of habits – but they have real effects on our wellbeing.”
“Our work in this project, while early, shows that there is potential to design interactive technologies to work with us, to help us develop both awareness of our state, and offer options we’ve decided we’d rather take, to build new practices and support our wellbeing,” added Schraefel.
The bra is a result of a study called ‘Food and Mood: Just-in-Time Support for Emotional Eating,’ authored by researchers from the University of Southampton, Microsoft Research and the University of Rochester, US.