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article imageFirst bionic bra close to reality

By Tim Sandle     Dec 9, 2014 in Science
Technologists are close to launching a ‘Bionic Bra’. The bra automatically tightens in response to breast movement. The development has reached the prototype stage.
Technologists are close to launching a ‘Bionic Bra’. The bra automatically tightens in response to breast movement. The development has reached the prototype stage.
Developing a self-tightening and self-loosening bra has taken a long time. Work began on the project around the year 2000. However, new technological advances mean that the super-bra is close to reality. This technology centers on new actuators and sensing technologies. Thee aspects allow the bra to “sense” alterations in body movement.
A further technological leap has come about through 3D printing. 3D printing describes the process of making a three-dimensional solid object, of virtually any shape, from a digital model. The printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down to form different shapes. 3D printing has allowed the materials to monitor movement and for the fabric to respond.
The development has been led by Professor Gordon Wallace, who is based at the University of Wollongong. The project also includes Professor Julie Steele. Professor Steele has studied the movement of women’s breasts and she is aware of the damage that can occur if support is not right, including a connection to back pain.
The bra functions, according to the developers by “using customized graphene fibers, developed by wet spinning techniques, which are knitted into a wearable structure to form the bra - this is how movement is monitored. Then 'artificial muscles' (currently located on the back but likely to move) use this data to tighten up and contract the whole bra to provide more support. This integrated tech is also based on next-gen fibers which are made from coiled fishing line.”
The use of graphene is another use for the "wonder material." Graphene is an exciting material. Consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, the material is extremely stable, flexible, highly conductive, and of particular interest for electronic applications. This means that if a woman is working out at the gym, the bra will constrict; however, if a woman is just sitting in the car, the fibers will relax.
Although considerable advancement has been made, there are still some tweaks to be made before the “bionic bra” becomes a reality.
This project is altogether more serious technology than developing bras that change color. One company has developed bras which can instantly take on a new hue when friends wearing a matching pair come into contact with each other.
More about Bra, bionics, Breasts, Graphene
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