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12/5/2013
10:25 AM
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Microsoft Says Smart Bra Monitors Mood

Prototype device aims to warn wearers of triggers that lead to emotional overeating. Don't look for it in your next Victoria's Secret catalogue, however.

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Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
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12/5/2013 | 11:28:37 AM
Interesting idea, bad execution.
I think this one can be filed under "absurd wearable tech." The notion is interesting -- a device that learns your behavior to prevent emotional eating -- but i just can't support (ba-dum-chh) this prototype. A bracelet, sure, but not a cumbersome piece of clothing that requires charging multiple times a day.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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12/5/2013 | 11:34:44 AM
Re: Interesting idea, bad execution.
I like it Kristin -- we can start calling this the "absurdity of things." All these health apps face a challenge of motivation, of getting people who would rather ignore our health (most of us) to engage in this way.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
12/5/2013 | 11:40:03 AM
Too bad
It's a tragecy for comedy that they're not rushing this into production. I can definitely see it as an item for Dave Barry's Holiday Gift Guide. I would trust Dave Barry to tell us what this says about society.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/22/3771595/dave-barrys-gift-guide.html
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/5/2013 | 11:59:04 AM
Re: Interesting idea, bad execution.
People have known for years when you are in a bad mood you may overeat. Do you really need a wired bra and companion smartphone app to tell you to take a deep breath -- and then go for a walk, if possible? Jeez. Let's research some real problems, Microsoft.

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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12/5/2013 | 12:16:10 PM
Re: Interesting idea, bad execution.
No word on Ballmer-inspired mood monitoring hat product for people with high blood pressure.
U02IV15
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U02IV15,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/5/2013 | 1:13:49 PM
Great idea...here's why:
Yes, I have known that emotional eating is bad however, having a tool to make you aware of your mood would be quite helpful for me.  I don't think about "why" I'm eating, I tend to just eat when my brain tells me I want something to eat.  Again, making me AWARE of why I'm eating would be beneficial...before I eat and pack on the pounds.  :)

 
Stu_Pendisdick
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Stu_Pendisdick,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/5/2013 | 1:19:49 PM
Meh.
35 years ago, we had "Mood Rings".

 

This will no doubt work just as reliably, and at hundreds of times the cost.

 

Being a Microsoft product, does this mean that it will have to be removed and put back on again when it ( no doubt frequently ) stops working?

 

 

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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12/5/2013 | 6:55:40 PM
Re: Interesting idea, bad execution.
Along the lines of "there's an app for that," perhaps we should be saying more often, "there's a brain for that."
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
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12/9/2013 | 2:54:45 AM
Re: Interesting idea, bad execution.
I like the idea of wearable devices that help people improve their health. If someone gets the interface right (Apple's certainly invested a lot bringing in a lot of fitness people), I think these products could have profound, measurable effects-- like increases in the user's life expectancy.

That said, I like "absurdity of things" a lot. I hope people start using that.

I think this one qualifies as absurb, though I was a little on the fence at first. When I think about the most far-reaching applications, I think about devices that create a perpetual stream of information about my health. Right now, we go to the doctor once per year, we take a few tests, and we get a snapshot into our health-- an incomplete story whose ellipses often allow diseases to go undetected. With an uninterrupted stream of information, we can catch things earlier (but then again, we could also needlessly freak out over incorrect readings, or benign fluctuations). And that's not to mention the benefits people will get in terms of tracking fitness (but then again, there's also the frankly dystopian idea that this sort of data might become part of our insurance system). If the UI or implementation isn't any good, the tech will be worthless, but like I said, if someone gets it right...

Anyway, even though I clearly believe in in the power of this sort of technology, I can't get past the absurdity of the batteries running dry after only a few hours. The bra was designed to track irritation-- but it sounds like it probably contributed a ton of irritation too. I can see why they decided to keep the bra a prototype, and to move on to new form factors.
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