Microsoft Smart Bra? Researchers Explain How a Bra Can Detect Women's Moods

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By Reissa Su | December 6, 2013 7:40 PM EST

Technology has paved the way for smart phones, smart cars, smart homes, smart TVs and smart watches. To add to the list of "smart" things, Microsoft has developed a "smart bra" to make women's underwear more intelligent.

According to reports, researchers at Microsoft have created a smart bra prototype, containing physiological sensors that can monitor a woman's heartbeat and keep track of her emotions. Microsoft's smart bra can also prevent overheating.

The built-in sensors can send a signal to the smart phone of the woman wearing the smart bra when she comes near a fridge and help her make better decisions in dieting.

However, Microsoft said the smart bra won't be produced and sold in the market. According to the scientists who published the details of the project on in a research paper online, the smart bra form factor had allowed them to gather data near the heart.

Scientists said that research studies have shown that many people who feel bored, stressed, tense or discouraged have the tendency to reach into the fridge and eat calorie-rich food such as doughnuts. These "comfort foods" contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Researchers from Microsoft, University of Southampton and University of Rochester said that interventions helped them identify what triggers binge-eating in people. The interventions were based on a person's emotional state.

The researchers enlisted four women to wear the sensors in their bras for a period of four days to track their vital signs. An electrocardiogram sensor was placed under the arm to measure the women's heart rate. Another sensor that measures electrodermal activity tracked perspiration.

Based on the study, researchers had discovered that the smart bra was effective in tracking the emotional changes of women. However, the smart bra can only be worn for a limited time since the sensors had to be recharged every three to four hours. Scientists said more research must be done before the smart bra will reach market readiness.

According to Microsoft spokesperson, the bra sensing system was only part of a broader research at Microsoft on designing products and devices sensitive to emotions and moods.  He said while Microsoft will continue to do more research on affective computing, the company has no plans of releasing a smart bra product.  

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