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17 December 2013, 16:37
Scientists in Southampton say they have developed a 'smart bra' which can measure the wearer's mood to help prevent over-eating.
M.C. Schraefel, a professor in computer science and human performance design from the University of Southampton, has helped to design the bra which is fitted with sensors which monitor heart and skin activity.
The data from the prototype device is then analysed by a smartphone app which can highlight when ``emotional eating'' is most likely to occur and offer advice to the wearer. The app can then provide suggestions such as carrying out calming breathing exercises to reduce the user's stress levels.
Prof Schraefel said:
"Emotional states, 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 well-being.
"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 well-being.''
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.
The study set out to develop an intervention which is triggered before someone reaches for food as a means of emotional support. It suggested the smart bra and matching apps as possible solutions.