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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Smart Bra Aids Overeaters

Microsoft Research scientists have created a high-tech bra designed to monitor users to curb stress-related overeating. The undergarment is laden with sensors that record heart rate, respiration, skin conductance – the electrical conductance of the skin, which varies with moisture levels and indicates how much a person is perspiring -- and the individual’s movement, which are indicative of stress and other emotions that can lead to overeating. The bra feeds the data to a smartphone application, which sends prompts to users asking them to visit social media sites or write positive e-mails as simple ways of elevating their mood. The researchers say a bra is an ideal garment for such technology because it is close enough to the heart to take meaningful readings; however, the batteries in the undergarment had to be changed every four hours, which they say is prompting them to explore alternatives. They presented their findings at the Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII 2013) held in September. (SlashDot)(Care2)(Mashable)(Discovery News)(Microsoft Research)

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Microsoft Plans Cryptic Operating System Releases

Microsoft is planning a wave of operating system releases in spring of 2015 across all its various platforms, including Windows, Xbox One, and Windows Phone. This is according to new information reported by ZD Net, which obtained information from an internal Microsoft e-mail. “Threshold” is reportedly updating all three OS platforms in such a way that they will share more common elements. This will apparently be through sharing applications. It is unclear precisely how Microsoft plans to move forward or if it intends to take a device-agnostic approach. “If Microsoft is heading toward some sort of unified programming model, that’s going to require possibly years of work,” noted PC World’s Mark Hachman. “But other elements, such as the UI, services, and user data stored in the cloud, can be more easily manipulated.” Microsoft has indicated it will offer “Update 1” to Windows 8.1 in spring of 2014. (ZD Net)(Engadget)(PC World)

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