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BRA you ready for a revolution? The quest to design better fitting bras

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Custom designed bras may be in sight thanks to a 3D computer-aided design study.

It may have been hundreds of years in the making, but relief could be in sight for Australian women wearing uncomfortable, ill-fitting bras.

The introduction of three-dimensional computer-aided body scanning is revolutionising apparel design and, with research showing that 85 per cent of women have difficulty getting the right fit, bra design may be entering the next frontier.

UOW’s Biomechanics Research Laboratory conducts world-leading breast health research under the banner of Breast Research Australia (BRA). In a unique new study, hand-held 3D scanners are being used to collect data on breast size and shape with the aim of translating that information into bras that better fit the diverse range of breast and torso shapes exhibited among the female population.

BRA PhD candidate, Celeste Coltman, describes herself as an “active woman with large breasts”. She recently conducted a study on sports bras where 46 per cent of participants reported discomfort. Other figures suggest that 85 per cent of women have difficulty finding a bra that fits them properly, indicating that this is a much bigger problem.

“Common complaints include underwire problems, straps that don’t stay up or dig in, inconsistent sizing, discontinued styles and an overwhelming range of choices,” she said.

“Ill-fitting bras can also lead to poor posture and musculoskeletal pain and have a negative impact on exercise, so this is a major issue that needs to be addressed. The introduction of 3D scanners may be the answer, as we are now able to extract body shape data, which could lead to significant improvements in bra design and bra fit.”

Dr Deirdre McGhee, senior lecturer at UOW’s Biomechanical Research Laboratory said: “We hope that the data from this research will inform future designs and even help pave the way for customisation in the fitting process.”

The BRA researchers are seeking female volunteers to be part of the scanning study, being conducted on the University of Wollongong campus from June to December 2014.

More information: smah.uow.edu.au/brl/bra

Study tour dates:

  • Illawarra Women’s Health Centre (2-14 Belfast Ave, Warilla) every Tuesday from 12 August – 16 September.
  • Penrith Women’s Health Centre (Henry St, Penrith) from 22 September – 3 October (excluding weekends).
  • Central Coast Community Women’s Health Centre (7 Rose St, Wyong) from 12–23 January 2015 (excluding weekends).

(Source: University of Wollongong)

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Posted On: 31 August, 2014
Modified On: 2 September, 2014

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