A ‘Bionic Bra' that automatically tightens in response to breast movement is a step closer to being launched with the development of a new prototype.

Work started on the 'Bionic Bra' more than fifteen years ago, but the development team has recently acquired new actuators and sensing technologies.

"Our ability to make things from advanced materials has been greatly enhanced recently with the advent of new approaches to fabrication," said Professor Gordon Wallace, executive research director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.

"The advent of approaches such as 3D printing has enabled us to assemble structures containing new sensing technologies to more accurately monitor movement and new artificial muscle technologies to control it. These advances have inspired us to (re)confront the challenges involved in creating the Bionic Bra."

Professor Julie Steele, director of Breast Research Australia (BRA), added: "Unfortunately, the most supportive sports bras tend to be the most uncomfortable to wear. Making matters worse, BRA research has found that 85% of women are wearing bras that do not fit or support their breasts correctly."

While vast improvements have been made recently to the design of the 'bionic bra', researchers say there are still some "kinks to iron out".

"Although we have made substantial progress, we still have a way to go before the 'bionic bra' can be taken from the bench top to the washing machine," Steele said. "However, when finished, the 'bionic bra' will transform bra design."