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

December 18, 2013
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."

Explore further: Building a better sports bra

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

Related Stories

Building a better sports bra

December 3, 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.

Slowdown of emotional recovery could be a warning sign for depression

December 10, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Depression is a serious health problem that reduces the individual's quality life and creates a societal burden because of medical costs and decreased work productivity. Unfortunately, the transition from ...

Repeatedly exposing yourself to a negative event may prevent it from affecting you

November 25, 2013
Psychology shows that it doesn't take much to put you in a bad mood. Just reading the morning news can do it. And being in a bad mood slows your reaction time, and affects your basic cognitive abilities like speech, writing, ...

Higher emotional intelligence leads to better decision-making

November 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 ...

Why video games make healthy stocking stuffers

November 15, 2013
Don't feel guilty for stuffing Sonic in the Santa sack - video games can be good for your children's mental health.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.