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Offensive Weight-Loss Tool

8/22 9:19:32

As you may have noticed, the Internet is a-buzz about a new bra designed by Microsoft researchers to curb emotional overeating. The idea is that it has built-in sensors to monitor your heart activity, perspiration levels, and movement—which it then transmits to a smartphone app that tells you when you're approaching stress- or boredom-induced eating territory. In theory, your app could then guide you through a distraction or something like breathing exercises to prevent you from reaching for food.

The bra turned out to be fairly accurate at detecting emotions—but why does it have to be a brassiere? Here's what the Microsoft research paper says: "We needed a form factor that would be comfortable when worn for long durations. We also needed a way to gather both EKG [heart] and EDA [sweat] signals." Except for, you know, it wasn't actually comfortable at all because the women in the study had to take off their bras every three to four hours to charge their physiological monitors (can you imagine?).

And, while at least one study suggests that brain areas that regulate emotions and the motivation to eat are more active in women than they are in men, that certainly doesn't mean men are immune to emotional overeating. Luckily, the bra isn't available for sale—it's just in the development stages (for now at least). Seems pretty sexist if you ask us—not to mention unrealistic (wearing the same bra every day!). Couldn't the researchers have made an undershirt or a wristband instead? Runners wear ones that monitor their hearts all the time…

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