This Smart Bra Will Stop You From Eating Your Feelings. Ladies, Rejoice!

What Women Really Think
Dec. 6 2013 8:24 AM

This Smart Bra Will Stop You From Eating Your Feelings. Ladies, Rejoice!

81279803
"Those Wheat Thins will not make your mother accept you."

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

My sisters, something wondrous has happened. Researchers at Microsoft are developing a smart bra that alerts women to their stress levels, so that they might avoid “emotional overeating.”

Katy Waldman Katy Waldman

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

According to the BBC, the blueprint “contains removable sensors that monitor heart and skin activity to provide an indication of mood.” The bra takes your EKG and feeds it to an app on your phone, which then counsels you to avoid the refrigerator, because you’re stressed, or to go ahead and cross the kitchen threshold. (You’re calm! You can handle it.) What a sign of progress that technology now recognizes the holy trinity of womanhood, emotional instability, and concern for food and weight. These researchers totally “get” us! (Please let the bra be pink.)

Advertisement

My one tiny concern is that I am not actually sure I need my underwear to tell me when I’m anxious—I JUST KNOW, OK?—in the same way that I don’t need my breasts to notify me when it is already raining. On the other hand, sometimes you think you know what you’re feeling but you really just need your bra to brasplain it to you, otherwise you will eat all the things.

My working theory of the smart bra is that it was in fact designed by Bryan Goldberg, the same eminence who brought us Bustle, the website for women. (“I may not understand the difference between eyeliner, mascara, and concealer, but I do understand that women have boobs. And feelings” is something you could imagine the founder of Bustle saying.) Until I can prove it, though, let's hear from the computer scientists at the University of Rochester in New York and the University of Southampton in the U.K. who describe exactly how the product they are developing might work in a paper released this year:

Sally has been home from work for a few hours, and she finds herself rather bored. An application on Sally’s mobile phone has also detected that she is bored by reading her physiological state through wearable sensors. Since this mobile application has previously learned that Sally is most susceptible to eating when she is bored, the application provides an intervention to distract Sally and hopefully prevent her from eating at that moment.

What kind of distracting intervention? The paper doesn’t say, but I hope it is flashing lights and a deep voice shouting, “Sally, this is your bra talking! Stay away from the cheese curls!” Emotional overeating may be a real problem (for both genders), but it’s hard to imagine any phone message in this context not shaming the woman it’s meant to "protect"—and we all know how effective shame is as a catalyst for weight loss.

Yet maybe Sally won’t feel ashamed because her breasts look so great in her new bra! Maybe the device will also sign her up for gym memberships and interpret her dreams. Maybe Sally and her smart bra will have fabulous adventures—Sally recharging the bra every three to four hours, the faithful bra supporting Sally, tending to her stress, and all the while keeping her dark, fridge-raiding secrets tightly under wraps. At least until it learns to tweet.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.