Skip to main content

Microsoft researchers develop mood-sensing ‘smart bra’

microsoft smart bra microsft
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft researchers have done what many super-nerds only dream about: They got into women’s underwear.

Okay, that’s not quite fair. What they actually did was develop a “smart bra” that senses the mood of whomever wears it to help combat “emotional eating.” And it actually seems to work.

The prototype smart bra contains a number of sensors that can detect a handful of emotions by monitoring heart rate and skin activity (like sweating). The smart bra also packs in a 2-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer, which it uses to figure out when someone is scarfing down some sheet cake.

Using machine learning, the smart bra was then able to figure out when the person wearing it was in a mental state that triggered overeating for emotional reasons. According to a paper released by the researchers (PDF), the bra successfully detected rising negative emotions roughly 75 percent of the time. This was backed up by emotional data recorded by the study’s participants in an appropriately named app called EmoTree.

“This is the first study, that we are aware of, that makes use of wearable, mobile sensors for detecting emotions,” the team wrote. “The bra form-factor was ideal because it allowed us to collect EKG [activity] near the heart.”

In the next phase of the experiment, Microsoft’s researchers plan to develop a system that delivers an “appropriately timed, personalized intervention” that will alert the wearer when they are likely to kill a pint of Ben & Jerry’s because they’re upset or stressed out.

Microsoft is not the only company to pack tech into a brassiere. Earlier this year, ad agency OgilvyOne Athens announced the Tweeting Bra, which sends out a tweet every time the undergarment is removed as a way to remind women to check themselves for signs of breast cancer.

Is Microsoft’s smart bra taking wearable tech in the right direction, or bringing it a little too close for comfort?

Editors' Recommendations

Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
This AI cloned my voice using just three minutes of audio
acapela group voice cloning ad

There's a scene in Mission Impossible 3 that you might recall. In it, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) tackles the movie's villain, holds him at gunpoint, and forces him to read a bizarre series of sentences aloud.

"The pleasure of Busby's company is what I most enjoy," he reluctantly reads. "He put a tack on Miss Yancy's chair, and she called him a horrible boy. At the end of the month, he was flinging two kittens across the width of the room ..."

Read more
Digital Trends’ Top Tech of CES 2023 Awards
Best of CES 2023 Awards Our Top Tech from the Show Feature

Let there be no doubt: CES isn’t just alive in 2023; it’s thriving. Take one glance at the taxi gridlock outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and it’s evident that two quiet COVID years didn’t kill the world’s desire for an overcrowded in-person tech extravaganza -- they just built up a ravenous demand.

From VR to AI, eVTOLs and QD-OLED, the acronyms were flying and fresh technologies populated every corner of the show floor, and even the parking lot. So naturally, we poked, prodded, and tried on everything we could. They weren’t all revolutionary. But they didn’t have to be. We’ve watched enough waves of “game-changing” technologies that never quite arrive to know that sometimes it’s the little tweaks that really count.

Read more
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more