Ladies, let’s talk bras. Every woman has a love-hate relationship with her brassiere. On the one hand bras can make you feel poised, confident, sexy. On the other hand, they have a tendency to (say around 6:30 p.m.) feel like an uncomfortable, cumbersome, boob jail, whose straps are either all twisted up or somehow sliding all the way down to your elbows. It’s possible, however, that everyone’s comfort qualms with bras may be on the verge of changing forever.
Researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia have recently created what they are touting as the first ever “bionic bra.” While this lingerie might sound like a a high-tech movie gadget, there are no lasers or GPS devices to be found. The bra’s purpose is to automatically adjust to the movement of your breasts. The 3D-printed bra (yes, 3D-printed) is made up of smart fibers that automatically sense movement and can contract and release accordingly.
So, essentially, when you run or move quickly, the bra makes itself more secure on your body. And when you’re stationary, the material relaxes. Sounds both a little scary, and like totally soothing.
Professor Julie Steele, Director of Breast Research Australia at UOW, is one of the researchers helping to develop the bra. In a press release, Steel stated that “Unfortunately, the most supportive sports bras tend to be the most uncomfortable to wear. Making matters worse, BRA research has found that 85 percent of women are wearing bras that do not fit or support their breasts correctly.”
Science aside, there is a serious comfort need for superior technology. Many a woman have serious discomfort (i.e. back and neck pain) as the result of ineffective breast support. That’s why this bionic bra has been in production for quite some time — 15 years, to be exact. Says Professor Gordon Wallace, who led the research team, “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.”
While there are still some kinks that need to be worked out (the bra cannot be washed in a machine and it’s fully hideous), the research team plans on bringing in designers to make sure the bra is both attractive and comfy.
With this news, we can all hang onto a little hope that the bras of the future will be infinitely more supportive and cozy — though we’ve still got our fingers crossed for the GPS and the lasers.