Students develop a smart bra that detects breast cancer

Date:7 April 2020 Author: Kyro Mitchell Tags:, ,

Students from the Swiss University EPFL have teamed up with start up IcosaMed to develop a smart bra that can be used to detect early warning signs for breast cancer.

The smart bra doesn’t use low-energy X-rays like conventional mammograms do. Instead, the bra makes use of ultrasound waves generated by piezoelectric sensors embedded in the bra.

Piezoelectric sensors use the ‘piezoelectric effect’ to measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain, or force by converting them to an electrical charge.

The sensors imbedded into the smart bra run on energy generated when pressure is applied to a piezoelectric material, meaning the team of developers were able to miniaturize the technology and fit it into a small space like a bra. The developers also managed to create a plastic interface to act as a replacement for the gel that is typically used during an ultrasound.

According to Hugo Vuillet, one of the students on the development team, “This technology is what allows us to miniaturise the SmartBra’s detection system so that it’s still comfortable to wear and nearly imperceptible.”

“Our smart-clothing technology is designed to detect cancer at the earliest stages. It uses a non-invasive, painless method based on frequent ultrasound monitoring”

The smart bra will initially be sold to women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer to assist in monitoring their condition on a daily basis. The bra will then be sold to a wider market of woman who have a genetic predisposition to developing cancer. Finally,  the SmartBra will be marketed to all women.

Image: EPFL

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