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

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

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

"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.)


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.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.