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Input Devices Technology Idle

Microsoft's New Smart Bra Could Stop You From Over Eating 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-diet dept.
walterbyrd writes "A team of engineers at Microsoft Research have developed a high-tech bra that's intended to monitor women's stress levels and dissuade them from emotional over-eating. The undergarment has sensors that track the user's heart rate, respiration, skin conductance and movement — all of which can indicate the type of stressful emotions that lead to over-eating, according to Microsoft researchers. The data is sent to a smartphone app, which then alerts users about their mood."
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Microsoft's New Smart Bra Could Stop You From Over Eating

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm hungry!

  • by quonsar (61695) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:51PM (#45635529) Homepage
    Time to reboob.
    • by Hsien-Ko (1090623)
      Nothing wrong with that....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:21PM (#45635795)

      Never thought Microsoft Support would be uplifting.

    • . . .we're talking Ballmer's hands on your flesh, by proxy.
      Might not be a bad thing if you're Mrs. Ballmer, but, otherwise. . .
      • by Urkki (668283)

        . . .we're talking Ballmer's hands on your flesh, by proxy.

        Might not be a bad thing if you're Mrs. Ballmer, but, otherwise. . .

        Why do you think Mrs.Balmer would like her husbands hands (by proxy) on the flesh of other women?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:52PM (#45635545)

    Many of us guys that visit Slashdot could use a bra. Too bad it doesn't run Linux.

  • by tylikcat (1578365) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:53PM (#45635555)

    I'm actually pretty amused by the sensor rigged bra - heck, I wear a bra to run in anyway, way better than a separate heart rate monitor. Though no proprietary MS crap for me ;-) (Can't imagine they provide decent support, y'know?)

    But it seems horribly tone deaf to decide to put their sensors in a bra, and then make the whole thing be about dieting. Please folks, try not to be assholes.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:18PM (#45635763)

      Damn it to hell.

      Fat shreds memory and cognitive function, in often imperceptible ways but the effects do build over time. It increases an individual's chances of acquiring diabetes, heart disease and a number of other maladies. It is responsible for increased fatigue and reduces the efficacy of the immune system. People suffering from obesity, and that term applies much sooner than most would like it to, tend to be less productive, cost their family and employers more, and die sooner.

      No, it is not appropriate to attempt shame someone over it. No, it is not justifiable to treat the individual as less than any other. This I am most decidedly against. However, fat is not something to be "accepted" as if it were a lifestyle choice; even if the war is never won, the individual should always fight. Regardless of the origin, be it stress, overeating, hormone imbalance, etc. Fat is something to fight. It is a medical condition and infinitely treatable.

      It's one thing when a man, or woman, is bound to a wheelchair for life due to a condition one cannot correct from birth or from an injury or from disease. It would be quite another if that man, or woman, is bound to a wheelchair because they refused to do the physical therapy. I mean, we would all give the person their space after whatever event brought them to that point. We would all give them time. But at some point, you would lose respect for them, wouldn't you? Their apathy would be off-putting. Now imagine they wanted you to "just accept it".

      The individual who is fighting deserves all the respect the individual who has won should receive. I would never grant the individual who refuses to fight that and nor should you. As for the fight, this bra is simply a tool to aid, in however limited way it may, that battle. It is not fat shaming. They're trying to help; they're not being assholes.

      I say this as someone who has spent a lifetime fighting, and my war rages on.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Fat is something to fight. "

        ...Might I recommend ketosis?

      • by tylikcat (1578365) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:49PM (#45635951)

        The being assholes bit is presenting this in a way exclusively aimed at women when women already face a great deal more scrutiny over their physical appearances (and much higher rates of eating disorders and the like). The sensor suite isn't the problem. I can even see the bra-mount as being useful, because hey, men aren't already wearing a strap around their chests. (And as I said, it has struck me as kind of annoying that a heart rate monitor is an additional strap around my chest when I am already wearing at least one.)

        But the presentation is hugely tone deaf, in that it plays into existing stereotypes in harmful ways. You remember being told that computers could be for women too - hey, I bet you could keep recipes on one, right? (Or perhaps that was before your time.) If you're going to make a product aimed at helping people not stress eat, for heaven's sake don't make it only for women. Especially considering all the pressure for women to stay thin specifically so they look good for men (as opposed to for reasons of health.) It might be assholery through cluelessness, but it's still assholery.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:04PM (#45636055)

          FTFA: "Czerwinski explained that her team tried to develop an underwear version for men, but it didn’t end up working because underwear is located too far away from the heart."
           
          Thanks for reading, asshole.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          How the hell are you being tagged as insightful? You whine - and yes it is a whine - that they are being assholes because they dared to release a female-specific product to help women manage their weight when women face an image problem and yet, you so devalue why they did it.

          Here's the tone: they are trying to help. Again: they are trying to help. The keyword here is help. Whether or not the product is gender specific is irrelevant. Whether or not there is an image problem out there or not is irrelevant. W

          • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:41AM (#45637287)

            Do you know what "tone deaf" means? It doesn't mean "wrong". It means that they didn't consider the cultural context around their actions. They unwittingly did something that many people would find offensive.

            Here's the tone: they are trying to help.

            Haha, sure they're trying to help ... their bottom line. Companies exist to make money. They're not doing this as a public service.

            It is in their best interest not to offend their customers. It does not help anyone to shame people for being overweight. They would have been better off marketing it as a general fitness tool, rather than focusing on over-eating.

            Can you understand that? No one is saying it shouldn't exist.

        • I mentioned this in a comment above, but Polar makes a heart rate monitor sports bra. You still need the actual Polar monitor. Depending on what HRM you've got you may want to look into it.

        • considering all the pressure for women to stay thin specifically so they look good for men

          With all due respect, don't blame me for your problems. If you want to accomplish something useful, start ignoring the stereotypes.

          Don't sit around bitching about how much time you spend trying to make yourself look good to men then complain when a company creates products to fulfill your obsession. Men aren't your problem, you are.

      • by gorehog (534288)

        "Fat shreds memory and cognitive function"

        Can you cite a source for this?

    • by fermion (181285)
      You know vibrators were invented, the official story goes, because women would get hysterical and one way doctors would treat it would be to manually stimulate the woman to orgasm. Presumably men in the habit of paying amateurs to do so. The vibrator was then a labor saving device.

      From this one would assume that if women are overeating because of stress, the some sort of stress sensing panties are in order. Stimulation can automatically be applied and relieve the stress.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Damn corporations, pushing products and lifestyles that make people fat!

      Damn corporations, pushing products and lifestyles that make people nonfat!

    • Good point about Microsoft not known for providing decent support.

      Sports bra heart rate monitors are old hat, you can even get them on Amazon [amazon.com]. Comments show that they provide great support even for large chested ladies, and are thin enough your nipples still show through.

      I'm not sure I would wear a bra that told me I was overeating. I am thinking that one would stay in the closet, especially when I felt most like overeating.
    • To amplify the thought, they could have pitched it for fitness and activity monitoring, or to identify what times of day are causing stress without being particularly noticed.

    • by Barny (103770)

      You aren't thinking the 'next step' in this.

      Bra as a service
      The best support you could hope for, exactly when you need it.

      Of course, MS would need to really work on their support, the few times I have had to contact them for real tech issues, they have wanted to charge me before I could even leave a bug report.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:58PM (#45635601) Homepage

    Steve Ballmer could model it.

  • by hedgemage (934558) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:05PM (#45635663)
    I'm really curious how a bra will stop me (a man) from over eating. Maybe the title (lol, tit) should be "Microsoft's New Smart Bra Could Stop Women From Overeating".
    • by lakeland (218447)

      It could stop you from over-eating. You might happen to choose not to wear one for various reasons, such as an A cup being too big and thereby making it uncomfortable.

      However I don't see why the title is inaccurate just because you are not interested

    • Well, nicotine patches can stop people from smoking . . . so maybe someone just needs to invent "food patches" . . . ? You know, just peel of the back paper, stick it on your shoulder, and the patch oozes some goo into you that makes you feel like you just gorged yourself on a deep-fried turkey. In bras, of course.

      Maybe the hardware in the Microsoft bra gives you electric shocks that create the same gorged feeling?

      Hmmm . . . do you really want to use the word "Micro" when talking about something for a

  • it looks like you're eating a doughnut...
  • place press your boobs to reboot.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:39PM (#45635887) Homepage Journal

    The fundamental problem with this is that overeating doesn't cause obesity.

    Some recent scientific results (*) have clarified obesity, and are completely at odds with every "common knowledge" explanation. The bad news is that we don't know what causes obesity and there's nothing anyone can do [currently] to combat it. The good news is that it's not related to a) what you eat(**) b) how much you eat, c) your willpower, d) genetics, or e) exercise.

    Relax, it's not your fault.

    In the current model the digestive system presents a river of nutrients, from which the body takes what it needs to maintain a specific weight.The body has a set-point in the manner of a thermometer for how much nutrition to take in, and something in the environment disturbs this set-point(***), resulting in obesity. There is strong statistical evidence that this is not related to the amount or type of food eaten(*) (within dietary reason) or the level of exercise. Over 700 possible factors have been suggested, including Bisphenol-A [wikipedia.org] in packaging, estrogenic compounds [wikipedia.org] in the environment, and water fluoridation [wikipedia.org].

    Your diet worked for you, and that's great; however, it didn't fix your obesity(***): something you did along with the diet changed the environment and your body regained a normal set-point. For this reason, no diet is universal: it's happenstance.

    Exercise isn't what fixed your obesity. Again, nothing related to nutrition (within obvious limits) or exercise is the cause of obesity. Something else is at play. Whether exercise is good for you is a different issue; it's just not the cause of your obesity.

    Modeling your body as a thermodynamic system sounds logical and "makes sense", but without actually going into starvation it's not the correct description of the problem. You can burn many calories simply by sleeping with fewer covers (more than you can by exercising), but your body will simply take more from the stream. This won't affect your obesity.

    * Modern-day laboratory animals are fat [aeon.co], despite having the same diet and exercise as lab animals raised in previous decades. Statistically, the trend is very strong.

    ** A nutritional balance is necessary (of course). Whether junk food is good for you is a separate issue; however, it's not the cause of your obesity.

    *** The difference in caloric intake between normal and obese is about 30 calories/day (about 3 peanut M&Ms), which is roughly 1% of your daily nutritional needs. No diet has this level of resolution, no diet can be this accurate by measuring servings without taking into account the condition of the serving (ie - chicken fattier than average, veggies drier than average, &c.)

    • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:51PM (#45635967) Homepage Journal

      Scientific paper referenced is here [nih.gov].

      Along with a table [nih.gov] and chart [nih.gov] of the increases.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:57PM (#45636677)

        That paper does ***not*** show that "overeating doesn't cause obesity." What it shows is that there is other factors also causing obesity. The fact that obesity is correlated with many different factors is not novel, and that is all that that paper shows (i.e. that obesity can be correlated with factors that do not involved eating or exercise). You're gonna need a better source to show that overeating doesn't cause obesity, and a damned good one at that, considering the connection between obesity and overeating has been scientifically (and non-scientifically) established many, many times (it's a simple fact of biology, in fact).

        Posted AC due to mod points.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's funny then that a whole TV show like The Biggest Loser (granted, not a very good one) can be based around making obese people lose weight by increasing the amount they exercise and decreasing their intake of calories. Every season, without fail, they achieve drastic weight loss based on those two factors alone, so it's really a stretch to claim that they aren't very strong factors in weight loss. I know there's a growing trend of pretending what people do to their bodies will have no effect on their we
      • Every season, without fail, they achieve drastic weight loss based on those two factors alone...

        And their subjects are in the same environment they were in when they got obese. Yes?

        And every participant achieves drastic weight loss - no one finds the new regime ineffective, yes?

        I should get all my scientific opinions from reality TV. It's so much easier than reading the literature...

    • by schnell (163007) <meNO@SPAMschnell.net> on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:04PM (#45636423) Homepage

      Some recent scientific results (*) have clarified obesity, and are completely at odds with every "common knowledge" explanation. The bad news is that we don't know what causes obesity and there's nothing anyone can do [currently] to combat it. The good news is that it's not related to a) what you eat(**) b) how much you eat, c) your willpower, d) genetics, or e) exercise.

      I have not done a scientific study, but I am pretty sure that if I eat three Denny's meals per day and do no exercise, I will become obese. I know some obese people, and I can verify that their caloric intake vs. mine (minus exercise) does not net out to 30 calories per day.

      If that's not the case, please let me know... I am tired of cardio and would be interested in partaking in their forthcoming Hobbit-themed breakfasts if there's no relationship to weight gain. ;-)

      • by muhula (621678)
        You're missing the point of the GP post. Yes, if you eat more calories, you're going to get fatter than if you didn't. But his point is this: why are some people constantly hungry when they eat the same amount of food that fills another person? What in the environment is changing that is causing various groups of research animals (across different species) to increase their weight over the years? According to this paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3081766/ [nih.gov], the odds of this trend happening
      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:59AM (#45637701) Homepage

        I have not done a scientific study, but I am pretty sure that if I eat three Denny's meals per day and do no exercise, I will become obese.

        Well maybe you would, but are you saying that *anyone* would? The science (and many of our experiences) would indicate that the answer is "no".

        I'll give my anecdotal evidence. When I was 16-20 years old, I would eat an astounding amount of food. I could eat anything. In one meal, I would eat a whole chicken, a side of fries, a big piece of cake for dessert, and drink 48 oz of soda while doing it. It makes me a little ill now just to think about it. And that would be after eating a Big Mac, large fries, and a milkshake for lunch. It didn't even seem like a lot to me then. And you know what? I was really skinny. 6'1" tall, and 140 lbs. I did no exercise.

        Then at 20 years old, I put on 50 lbs in something like 8 months. I still wasn't fat, really. I just wasn't super-skinny anymore. And I hadn't changed my exercise or diet. Then I stayed at 190lbs for about 5 years. How much I ate seemed to have no effect on my weight. I could eat like I did when I as 18, and I stayed 190 lbs. I could spend a month eating half as much food, and I would stay 190 lbs. After those 5 years, though, not changing my exercise or diet, I started putting on weight and got up around 206, and I started feeling a little pudgy. I cut *way* back on my caloric intake-- like I ate half as much as I used to-- and I started exercising quite a lot, which brought me down to about 198-200lbs, which is where I am today.

        Wanting to get back down to 190, I've tried starving myself and working out a lot. Eating much less and leaving myself hungry made me feel much worse on a daily basis, but I didn't lose any weight. Working out made me feel much better and look better, but again, I didn't lose weight. The only time I've dipped below 200 lbs was during a stint of unemployment for a few months, when I lost 5 lbs. I was eating more calories, not watching my diet at all, and not particularly exercising more. My theory is that it had something to do with the fact that I was relaxed and happy, instead of being miserable at work all the time.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      read the stuff again. overeating will lead to obesity in most cases, where there isn't some disease/condition preventing the fat accumulation, in which case the person isn't really overeating anyways.

      But, you could think it from the other way - without overeating it's __impossible__ to become obese. . statistics back this up (counting out exotic diseases, elephantinism or whatever). besides, it's a proven method for losing weight: eat less, do more - or inversely a proven method for getting fat: eat more a

  • It's amazing how our brains are evolved over millions of years to make sense, and yet some will look for any excuse not to use it. If they treat their own brain this way, why would they honor an app?
    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      Consumer society evolved over the last century or so to exploit the hell out of our brains, because it can evolve quicker than we can.

  • OK, they're off by a few months, but my first reaction to the headline was definitely "clearly, this is a joke...."

    • by CHK6 (583097)
      I have to agree. I would prefer that Microsoft stay away from my wife's breasts. I know, a Slashdot reader with a wife, that too sounds like an April Fools prank. But fear not, we can reproduce.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:04PM (#45636047)

    Apple will introduce an iBra that you can automatically unclip with an expensive iPhone app only.

    Microsoft will then introduce a Windows Bra that is functional but unexciting, and be slightly irritating to operate.

    An open source Linux powered bra will subsequently be developed, but it will take so long to fiddle with until you achieve the desired result that you end up forgetting what your goal was in the first place.

  • In other news, Microsoft is marketing a line of edibles ("Blue Food") and an app that will tell you when to eat it.

  • UI? (Score:5, Funny)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:28PM (#45636199)

    So is this going to have a touch interface?

  • "A team of engineers at Microsoft Research have developed a high-tech bra that's intended to monitor women's stress levels and dissuade them from emotional over-eating.

    Actually, the team's original idea was to monitor the CEO's excitement levels and dissuade him from dancing..... so they created the "Bramer".

    Then marketing got ahold of it.

  • Micro$oft finding new data to provide to the NSA. You know...I wonder if they're monitoring all that bluetooth enabled heart rate data out there?

  • Incorporate a taser in the garment, then you've got something.

    "My boyfriend broke up with me. By email. Hand me that carton of chunky monkey..." KZERRRRK

    "Here's your ice cream. Um, are you ok? Why do you smell like burning latex?"

  • You could curb your appetite by putting a picture of Bill Gates on your refrigerator.
  • They could merge this with positional data and advertising revenue, and give the user a pass on overeating when they're in the vicinity of a paid sponsor. "I can't eat right now, my app says I shouldn't... no wait, it says I can eat now. Hey, there's a McDonald's."

    In time, we'll all just believe our smart phones. "I'm hungry now for... a charbroiled steak. Yeah, at that Black Angus over there. Right now. Um, wait, aren't I a vegetarian?"

  • Seriously..... then it wouldn't be restricted to women!

  • by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:36AM (#45637273)

    They clearly haven't looked at this from the users perspective.

    I don't want some device telling me I am emotional and stressed and shouldn't be eating. Fact is I would probably smash the device after a while.

    Of course on top of that, it hurts my emotional and stress levels to be told that I am emotional and am stressed out.

    The whole thing is one big fail.

  • Protip: (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:03AM (#45637547) Journal

    DO NOT buy one of these for your wife or girlfriend. In fact, don't ever acknowledge that you're aware of its existence.

    -jcr

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