Detected: The story of the intelligent bra

Statistics tell the story of breast cancer. Every 19 seconds a woman somewhere in the world will be diagnosed with the disease. In the U.S. alone, more than 40,000 women are expected to die from it this year. The World Health Organization says breast cancer is the top cancer in women worldwide and is increasing particularly in developing countries where the majority of cases are diagnosed in late stages. A remarkable new IoT wearable device could dramatically alter those numbers, as you'll read below. – Philip Bane


A post on the Cisco website highlights an interview with Rob Royea, CEO of Cyrcadia Health Asia who helped develop an IoT wearable – an intelligent bra or iTBra -- to detect breast cancer. As Royea explains, the iTBra is going to bring about "a radical shift in the paradigm of location and timing of diagnosis."

How it works
The device is worn under a woman's garments. Sensors that sit on the body, Royea explains, can sense metabolic change over time through thermodynamic assessment. In fact, he says it can detect the earliest signs of invasive cancer.

As he puts it: "The data collected by the sensors are then transmitted to a core lab where we use artificial intelligence or predictive analytics in the cloud to determine the results. The results are then sent back to the patients or to the physician and the insurance company. Patients can easily read the results that basically tell them 'you're fine' or 'call your doctor'."

So instead of a mammogram that may not detect a tumor for years, the iTBra promises the kind of very early detection that can be key to beating the disease. The iTBra has gone through a clinical trial in the U.S. and has FDA Class 2 clearance but Royea says they are working on a Class 1 clearance so it can be sold over-the-counter. Meanwhile, a commercial product could be available in Asia by year-end that enables the iTBra to be paired with a smartphone for results.

Detected, the movie
Cisco funded a 16-minute documentary on the bra in collaboration with Ironbound Films and Cyrcadia Health. Detected is narrated by Melanie Griffith, an actress and breast cancer survivor.  It debuted this spring at the Boston Independent Film Festival and was screened earlier this week in Beverly Hills. It is expected to eventually be available online. You can watch an early trailer below.

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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