A research team at Australia’s University of Wollongong (UOW) is changing the way the industry views “One Size Fits All” garments with a new prototype called the Bionic Bra. The bra has the ability to change its size depending on the movement of the wearer.
The prototype, made using intelligent components and built-in actuators and sensing technologies, can sense breast motion and provide additional support during vigorous activities while having the ability to relax when the wearer has little to no movement.
UOW professor Gordon Wallace, executive research director of the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, and professor Julie Steele, director of Breast Research Australia (BRA) have been collectively leading the team of researchers.
The primary obstacle was transforming technology into function and creating something that women could actually wear. “Our ability to make things from advanced materials has been greatly enhanced recently with the advent of new approaches to fabrication. 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,” Wallace said. “These advances have inspired us to (re)confront the challenges involved in creating the Bionic Bra.”
Team member Dr. Sheridan Gho, noted, “Results indicate that our technologies can sense breast motion and provide additional breast support. The challenge now is to integrate these technologies into a functional, comfortable bra.”
Steele reiterated the bump in the road, “Although we have made substantial progress, we still have a way to go before the Bionic Bra can be taken from the bench top to the washing machine. However, when finished, the Bionic Bra will transform bra design.”