Three Smart Bras

CREDIT: Alexey Eliseev / Annals of Improbable Research. 2009.

Did the Wonder Woman’s bra confer any special protection on her? Was it good for anything more than, you know, the usual? I am not well up enough on my superhero comics  to know the answer to this question, but here are three added-values bras I heard of recently.

Smart Bra for Early Cancer Detection
Turn 40 and mammographs will become a part of your annual physical — if you are a woman on a decent healthcare plan. One hates to complain about a medical test that can possibly be life-saving, but shouldn’t there be a less painful method to test for signs of breast cancer?

According to the folks at First Warning Systems, there could one such detecting device in the market. It would involve wearing a sensor-studded sports bra for half a day to capture the chaos profile of breast tissue cells. Breast tissue metabolism can be tracked via the heat signatures of cells. Tumor temperature has less circadian variation than that of the surrounding healthy tissue. Algorithms compare the circadian gene expression profiles to those in a database to identify breast tissue abnormalities at different stages of development. Voila! you will have a verdict. How soon will this smart bra be on the market?

From their website: For now, the device is slated for select European markets in 2013. Our goal and hope is to bring device availability to the United States in 2014, pending successful clinical validation and FDA marketing clearance.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this method became the diagnostic gold-standard? There is a good chance this system may not work explains Jeremy Hsu at LiveSciences. The reasons he has cited are all good ones and there is a good chance this device will never supplant the mammogram, but I am going to root for this bit of innovation just the same.

A Bra That Stuns Gropers

In the aftermath of the horrendous rape of the Delhi girl earlier this year, I wallowed in despair at the state of public safety for women in my native India. But the same event spurred three engineering college students in my hometown Chennai to innovate. From the  report in The Hindu about their innovation:

Three students of SRM University have developed a bra, loaded with power sensors and an electronic circuit, which is activated the moment someone tries to grope a woman wearing it. The perpetrator will receive a jolt of 3,800 KV — causing him intense pain.

So how does it work? Manisha explains, “When a man tries to grope a woman, he will get a shock. The jolt is severe, but only for one-millionth of a second. This will force him to withdraw, but if he doesn’t, the next shock will be prolonged and can lead him to collapse.”

The device is also fitted with GPS (global positioning system) and GSM (global system for mobile communications), which will send out an instant alert to the nearest police station as well as to the woman’s family, said Rimpi.

I hope these students bring their innovation to market. Why don’t they take the idea to KickStarter?

The Radiation Emergency Bra

This bra which can double as a face mask in case of an emergency like the Chernobyl disaster or the dropping of a dirty bomb is already in the market. Here is more about information about it from the ebra’s website.

The Emergency Bra’s primary function is that of a conventional bra. In case of emergency, it can be quickly and easily converted into two face masks without removing any clothes. In case of emergency, where no specialized respiratory devices are available, it can decrease the inhalation of harmful airborne particles. Because the Emergency Bra masks can be securely fixed to the head, it frees a survivor’s hands to keep balance while running and removing objects on the way out of danger. In certain situations, by providing the wearer with a sense of security and protection, the Emergency Bra can reduce the chance of panic attack.

The current model of the RAD Emergency Bra incorporates a radiation sensor to warn the wearer of the presence of ionizing radiation in the event of a “dirty” bomb explosion or any other type of nuclear release involving high energy gamma rays. With sensor technology rapidly developing, different sensors, such as biological, chemical, and so forth, will be incorporated into the Emergency Bra in the future. The purpose of these sensors is to detect the presence of harmful airborne particles that require the use of respiratory protective masks. 

This invention won the IgNobel award in 2009.