Background: Although the most supportive sports bras can control breast motion and associated breast pain, they are frequently deemed uncomfortable to wear and, as a result, many women report exercise bra discomfort. Given that exercise bra discomfort is associated with decreased levels of physical activity, there is a pertinent need to develop innovative solutions to address this problem. Objectives: This research aimed to evaluate the use of electromaterial sensors and artificial muscle technology to create a bra that was capable of detecting increases in breast motion and then responding with increased breast support to enhance active living. Methods: The research involved two phases: (i) evaluating sensors suitable for monitoring and providing feedback on changes in the amplitude and frequency of breast motion, and (ii) evaluating an actuator capable of changing breast support provided by a bra during activity. Results: When assessed in isolation, the developed technologies were capable of sensing breast motion and actuating to provide some additional breast support. Conclusions: The challenge now lies in integrating both technologies into a functional sports bra prototype, and assessing this prototype in a controlled biomechanical analysis to provide a breast support solution that will enable women to enjoy active living in comfort.
Publication Details Citation
Steele, J. R., Gho, S. A., Campbell, T. E., Richardson, C., Beirne, S. T., Spinks, G. M., & Wallace, G. G. (2018). The Bionic Bra: Using electromaterials to sense and modify breast support to enhance active living. Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health - Papers: Part B. https://doi.org/10.1177/2055668318775905. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers1/104