Innovation That Matters

Student develops bra for breast cancer detection

Sport & Fitness

A Mexican teenager has developed a wearable prototype that can detect physical changes associated with breast cancer.

We have already seen wearable technology that can be used to monitor levels of vitamin D or to alert wearers to the possibility of an imminent heart attack. Now, an 18-year-old student has developed a bra equipped with biosensors for detecting physical changes associated with breast cancer.

In Mexico, getting a mammogram can involve a great deal of expense and a long wait, as there are only 9.5 mammography machines per million people, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. This can mean life-threatening delays in receiving diagnosis and treatment. Inspired by his mother’s battle with breast cancer, Mexican student Julian Rios Cantu has designed a prototype bra called EVA, that he hopes will one day be able to detect early signs of breast cancer. Cantu designed the bra with three friends, who together formed a company, Higia Technologies, to produce and market the product. The company recently won the top prize of USD 20,000 at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, to further develop their idea. The hope is that the EVA bra can be used as an early warning signal that will alert women to the need for a health check. The bra is equipped with around 200 biosensors, which map the surface of the breast and can detect changes in temperature and blood flow to the breast tissue, which can suggest that more blood is feeding cancer cells. Sensors then relay the data to a computer or smartphone app via Bluetooth, where it is evaluated. The user will need to wear the bra for around 90 minutes a week to allow it to regularly compile data.

Currently, the EVA bra is in the early stages of testing and development. It will need to undergo thorough medical trials before it can be recommended as a detection tool. Cancer researchers caution that no new cancer detection method should ever be used without rigorous testing and approval. In the future, what other types of health issues will wearable technology be able to detect?



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