Dawn of the 'BIONIC BRA': Underwear automatically tightens in response to movement to make exercise more comfortable
Time: 2014-12-09 14:40  Click:567

Scientists have created a ‘bionic bra’ that automatically tightens in response to breast movement, to make running more comfortable for women. From right to left, Professor Julia Steele, Professor Gordon Wallace and Dr Sheridan Gho are pictured

 

Scientists have created a ‘bionic bra’ that automatically tightens in response to breast movement, to make running more comfortable for women. From right to left, Professor Julia Steele, Professor Gordon Wallace and Dr Sheridan Gho are pictured
 

 

Women who like to work out know that finding perfectly-fitting underwear that’s supportive, can be just as challenging as running a marathon.

 

Now, scientists have created a ‘bionic bra’ that automatically tightens in response to breast movement, in a bid to make running more comfortable for women.

 

The smart underwear prototype contains hidden sensors to monitor and control movement. 

 

It has so far taken researchers at the University of Wollongong (UoW), in New South Wales, Australia, 15 years to develop and it could still be a while before it hits the shops.

 

Professor Gordon Wallace, Executive Research Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, based at the university, explained that progress has been accelerated of late because the team discovered new actuators and sensing technologies.

 

‘Our ability to make things from advanced materials has been greatly enhanced recently with the advent of new approaches to fabrication,’ he said.

 

‘The advent of approaches such as 3D printing has enabled us to assemble structures containing new sensing technologies to more accurately monitor movement and new artificial muscle technologies to control it.

 

‘These advances have inspired us to (re)confront the challenges involved in creating the Bionic Bra.’

 

Since the beginning of the project, Professor Julia Steele, Director of Breast Research Australia at UoW, has been investigating the movement of women’s breast during physical activity.

 

She said that without the right breast support, long-term damage can be done, including numbness in the fingers caused by compression of nerves on the shoulders, as well as neck and back pain.

 

‘Unfortunately, the most supportive sports bras tend to be the most uncomfortable to wear.

 

‘Making matters worse, bra research has found that 85 per cent of women are wearing bras that do not fit or support their breasts correctly,’ she said.

 

While the bionic bra is a step closer to hitting shops, there are still some problems that need to be ironed out.

 

Professor Steele said: ‘Although we have made substantial progress, we still have a way to go before the bionic bra can be taken from the bench top to the washing machine. However, when finished, the bionic bra will transform bra design.’

 

Team member Dr Sheridan Gho added: ‘Results indicate that our technologies can sense breast motion and provide additional breast support.

 

‘The challenge now is to integrate these technologies into a functional, comfortable bra.’

 

Professor Wallace spoke about the smart bra at the 9th Australasian Biomechanics Conference (ABC9) where research to measure the effectiveness of rugby headwear was also a hot topic.

 

Read more at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2865542/Dawn-BIONIC-BRA-Underwear-automatically-tightens-response-movement-make-exercise-comfortable.html

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. 



 

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