Southampton researchers help develop smart bra to measure mood to prevent over-eating

Southampton researchers help develop smart bra to measure mood to prevent over-eating
The prototype monitors heart and skin activity.

M.C. Schraefel, a professor in computer science and human performance design from the University of Southampton has helped to design a smart bra that can detect changes in mood, with the hope of preventing emotionally-triggered overeating in women.

The prototype contains removable sensors that monitor heart and skin activity. The data collected is processed via a model to determine the and the intervention is sent to the wearer via a . These physical symptoms are supposed to indicate , which a woman can track in order to highlight when '' is likely to occur.

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 . It suggested the smart bra and matching apps as possible solutions. The apps had the user log their emotions and what they had eaten every hour – suggesting calming breathing exercises when the user was stressed. The smart bra took the idea one step further by adding physical data to the emotions so they can be detected without prompting the user to log every hour.

The wearable technology monitored electrodermal activity or EMA (a measure of sweat gland activity), electrocardiogram or EKG (heart rate and respiration) data, and movement from an accelerometer and gyroscope integrated in removable conducive pads to provide an idea of the user's mood.

The study found that the prototype could identify emotions with accuracy "significantly better than chance" and "at par with other affect recognition systems."

Co-author Professor M.C. Schraefel, from Electronics and Computer Science and who leads the human performance design lab, at the University of Southampton, says: "Emotional state, 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 wellbeing. 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 wellbeing."

More information: Read the full report: eprints.soton.ac.uk/360392/1/FoodMood.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Building a better sports bra

Dec 03, 2013

One of the most important articles of clothing in women's wardrobes and its contents are receiving a Kansas State University researcher's undivided attention.

Mood-tracking app paves way for pocket therapy

May 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —An Android app which keeps tabs on users' mood swings and works out what might be causing them has been developed by researchers, with implications for psychological therapy and improving well-being.

Higher emotional intelligence leads to better decision-making

Nov 19, 2013

The anxiety people feel making investment decisions may have more to do with the traffic they dealt with earlier than the potential consequences they face with the investment, but not if the decision-maker has high emotional ...

Recommended for you

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

26 minutes ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

27 minutes ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments