The recent story about a “Bionic Bra” from the University of Wollongong had me wondering…why?! Of all the medical devices we have a dire need for, a sensor-equipped, “smart yarn”-infused, automatic-tightening bra certainly isn’t one of them.
The bra in question essentially monitors a woman’s breast movements during physical activity and adjusts for proper support through the use of integrated sensors and actuators.
The developers of the Bionic Bra claim that this is indeed a necessary invention, with support from research finding that nearly 85 percent of women wear ill-fitting bras. It is even further claimed that “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” from inadequate breast support over time.
Is this really an urgent medical problem for the majority of women? I mean, what extra support sports bra (or two for double duty) doesn’t do the trick?
To be fair, the Bionic Bra is still under development, and the technology may have more valuable applications in the future, but so far, the motive is far from impressive.
And in further fairness to this group of engineers, other more ridiculous bra technologies have attempted to come into fruition. One of them was the “True Love Tester Bra” from Ravijoir, which claims to “enlighten” a woman when she finds a particular person attractive through the means of vital tracking sensors; whereby the chastity belt-like device magically opens only for true love.
Other more well-meaning smart bras are being developed as wearable health monitors, such as Microsoft’s fitness tracking smart bra. Even Victoria’s Secret is cashing in on the smart bra hype with their not so cleverly named, “Incredible” bra, which may actually be one of the better uses of this sort of wearable technology. But even these products fall short of being meaningful, necessary inventions.
What’s more, the technology being employed by these projects, as well as the Bionic Bra team, is not really all that novel. With all the current advances being made in the world of wearable technology, aren’t there more worthy necessities awaiting our invention?
Take the Society Harnessing Equipment (SHE) bra from SRM for example. These student engineers are working on a truly commendable product for women in response to the recent outbreaks in India of sexual abuse and violent crimes against women. In short, this sensor and GPS equipped device is truly a “smart” bra that detects when its wearer is in danger. In the case of an attack, the bra is capable of emitting shocks to the aggressor and even notifies police and nearby friends of the wearer’s location.
It seems there is a smart bra theme infesting the minds of engineers over the past year, but many of these ideas, though humorous, are sadly out of touch with reality. In my opinion, the Bionic Bra should have been left by the wayside long ago. Perhaps this engineering team would be better employed using their talents toward something more valuable to the medical community and society as a whole.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the Bionic Bra is a valid invention? What other more valuable uses could the technology be used for? Comment below or email [email protected].
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)