The wearable tech trend has provided us with fitness-tracking smart shirts, as well as LED-embedded customizable skirts and jackets. But up to this point, with the exception of Bluetooth-enabled, fitness-tracking sports bras, we’ve had yet to develop truly smart bras and underwear for women. A research team at the University of Wollongong in Australia, however, wants to change that. They’ve invented what they’re claiming is the world’s first “bionic bra,” which adjusts itself according to the motion of your breasts.
The 3D-printed Bionic Bra—yes, that’s actually what it’s called—is made of smart fibers that double as motion sensors, detecting when your breasts move up, down, slower, or faster. So if you’re, say, running for the bus or going for a quick jog, the bra will adjust itself accordingly, tightening up and contracting to support your breasts and prevent them from jiggling. When you slow down, or relax, the bra will loosen up.
The bra has been in development for approximately 15 years, but until now technology hasn’t been sophisticated enough to create a prototype, says Professor Gordon Wallace, who led the Bionic Bra 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,” he said in a press release.
From the perspective of a non-breast-haver, it might be difficult to understand what is so revolutionary about the Bionic Bra, or why a woman would require a motion-detecting, supportive sports bra.
But according to a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, breast pain and soreness, as well as neck and back pain, are common among women who exercise regularly, in large part as a result of wearing an ill-fitting or unsupportive bra. But when these ladies swapped out their ill-fitting sports bras for more supportive ones, the study found that more than 85 percent of women reported experiencing less breast pain.
There are a few problems with the current incarnation of the Bionic Bra: It’s not yet machine washable, and, put simply, it’s ugly. But the researchers promise that they’re working on developing a prototype that’s more comfortable and aesthetically appealing. Looks like the future of boob technology is about to get a lot less bouncy.