I don't know what's up with Bill Gates lately.
Earlier this week I read that he's encouraging ground-breaking new designs for condoms, such as magic flutes made of beef tendons and fish skin, and now Microsoft is unveiling plans for a "smart bra" that can detect stress in the wearer and help prevent overeating due to stress.
"The prototype contains removable sensors that monitor heart and skin activity to provide an indication of mood levels. The aim was to find out if wearable technology could help prevent stress-related over-eating," reported the BBC. "Mood data was provided to the wearer via a smartphone app in order to highlight when 'emotional eating' was likely to occur."
I have not seen this thing or tried it out, of course, but I imagine that if I was in a shitty mood and my bra told me, "You're exhibiting signs of stress, Virginia! Exercise caution when eating," I would say, "Fuck you, bra, this pizza looks delicious."
My bra has one job to do. I don't want it getting distracted by any task other than making my breasts look good.
This, from the BBC story, is heart-warming, however: "Meanwhile in response to a series of rapes in India, three engineering students developed a bra loaded with sensors and an electronic circuit that is activated when someone attempts to grope a woman wearing it."
I don't know if the activation of a circuit would immediately summon police, but if so, that would be great.
But I think for the average woman, one who isn't being victimized while wearing it and doesn't have a serious heart condition or something, knowing you're wearing a sensor strapped to your boobs might stress you out more. Is stress really that undetectable to the average person?
Many self-monitoring apps and bracelets have popped up to cater to the person seeking hyperawareness of their health and who have money to burn. As a health editor at my last job, companies sent me things like that to try out. One was this ridiculously ostentatious $600 watch that supposedly made you happy when you wear it (didn't work); another was a plastic-ish bracelet that comes in many fun colors and will record how many steps you take in a day automatically, can be set to gently wake you from slumber and be used to track food you eat and your moods. I thought it was super-cool at first (and scary, since I was living in Los Angeles and hardly took any steps in a day), but after a couple days, I lost interest in logging every step I took and morsel of food I consumed. Unless you're seriously self-obsessed, I can't imagine that such data collection wouldn't get boring. After seeing my first weekly report that "Virginia feels 'Pretty Good' 85 percent of the time," the bracelet collected dust in a bag in my bathroom with discarded eyeliner and some of my less-appealing lipsticks.
I like to think self-awareness can be achieved without a bra or bracelet.