It's the result of a 15-year effort during which the team only recently obtained the advanced technology necessary to make a garment so...smart.
Thanks to strategically placed actuators and sensors, the Bionic Bra will be able to contract and release according to the wearer's activities and the pressure on the breasts.
Like this, it will offer all the comfort of a regular bra while affording wearers the support of a sports bra without the excessive constriction.
"Our ability to make things from advanced materials has been greatly enhanced recently with the advent of new approaches to fabrication," says study author Professor Gordon Wallace from the University of Wollongong in Australia.
As clothes become increasingly equipped with sensors and capable of previously unimaginable connections with the human body, it's possible that no item has been pulled in more directions than the bra.
For example, a Tweeting Bra developed by Nestle Fitness reminds the wearer when it's time to get a breast exam.
And in a new twist, Microsoft announced a smart bra last year that's intended to detect and control the emotions that trigger overeating. According to the researchers, it's equipped with EKG sensors capable of tracking not only cardiac activity but also the amount of sweat on the skin.
Early Smart bras from Adidas (US$54.95/RM207.50) and Sensoria (US$79.95/RM279) monitor heart rate in the interest of fitness tracking.
Perhaps it was the bra's early start pairing with sensors that's inspired researchers from Microsoft and UOW to go the next step and create something entirely unheard of, but in any case, the bra remains the Wild West of wearable tech.
"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," says Professor Wallace.
Although prototypes have been completed, the Bionic Bra is not yet ready for the market, according to a member of Professor Wallace's team who says there's a considerable amount of fine-tuning to be done before they start to market it.
No approximate date has been given as to when the Bionic Bra will become available, but when it does, the research team promises it will revolutionise the brassiere.
Meanwhile, it's important to keep in mind the research of Jean-Denis Rouillon from the University of Franche-Comte, who says the bra is unnecessary and what's truly smart is to not wear one at all. — AFP/RelaxNews 2014
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