Kemisola Bolarinwa, Nigerian female robotics engineer and her team at Nextwear Technology, a wearables firm in Abuja, Nigeria, worked on the smart bra for four years to detect breast cancer at early stage. They hope it will be ready in the market by July 2022.
On what inspired her to develop the smart bra she said, “My beloved aunt died of breast cancer in 2017 at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria because it was diagnosed late,” she added that while she was in her aunt’s ward at the hospital, she saw women of different age groups, even teenagers, groaning in the pain of breast cancer and that was when she felt she needed to contribute her part to fight the disease.
The prototype comes with ultrasound technology and mobile and web apps that can display where a tumor is on the breasts.
“The result will show if the tumor is benign [harmless] or malignant [harmful],” she explained. “The smart bra must be worn on the breasts for a maximum of 30 minutes for the result to show. The app also has an interface for the result to be transmitted to a doctor.”
The Nigerian robotics engineer said she and her team have conducted a local trial and got about 70 percent accuracy. At the moment, they are working towards 95-97 percent accuracy. With this, women may no longer have to go to the doctor to be screened for breast cancer as they could use her devise from the comfort of their home.
“If they could detect early that they have cancer, then they will be safe, and many don’t have to die,” she said.