Ever heard of a bra that helps in the early detection of Breast cancer? Wondering who could be behind such an amazing innovation?
Then worry no more!
We introduce to you the Nigerian Scientist behind this unmatched innovation, Kemisola Bolarinwa – a Nigerian Innovator with background in Robotics Engineering.
While growing up in secondary school, she was an active member of the Junior Engineers, Technicians, and Scientist clubs (JETS). Narrating the beginning of her passion for engineering, she recalls how, with the help of her friend, she created a transistor radio, and according to her, watching the radio work ignited her passion. That was when she knew she would be an innovator.
After secondary school, Bolanrinwa studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Ado-Ekiti. During that time she became interested in Robotics Engineering despite the challenges involved. In a time where engineering posed a great challenge to some women, Bolarinwa found an undying passion for it. According to her, the quest to be different challenged and motivated her.
Today, her undying passion has paid off because she is being celebrated for creating an innovation that helps in the early detection of Breast Cancer from home, in its early stage – THE SMART BRA.
Narrating how the idea of inventing the bra came about, she said it was her interest in Cancer prevention and treatment and from the fact that in 2017, she had visited her Aunt in the hospital and saw several women lying in pain in the University of Ibadan Teaching hospital. There, she resolved to finding a solution for breast cancer.
“Watching the women broke my heart, especially the young girls; the pain, helplessness, and resignation were too much for me,” she added. She walked up to the doctor to find a solution for breast cancer and during the conversation, she found out that 9 out of 10 women survive breast cancer with early detection. At that point, she knew that she had found her next challenge.
In 2019, Bolarinwa teamed up with a few experts, an IT expert, an embedding hardware expert, an AI expert, a software developer, and an Oncologist. Together, they embarked on a journey to find a solution to the late detection of Breast Cancer.
In 2021, Bolanrinwa and her team came up with a working prototype of a Smart Bra which has sensors to scan the breast for abnormalities.
Inside the Smart Bra are seven sensors strategically placed across each bra cup, connected via cables to a USB output. The USB output connects the bra to a computer or mobile app where a software assesses the data and scans for anomalies. A specialist can then interpret these readings. This bra is still a prototype with about 87 percent accuracy, according to Bolarinwa.
“From the 15 women we have tested, three came out with abnormalities which we referred to the hospital for proper diagnosis,” she said.
“We have ordered more developed sensors that will boost the product’s accuracy to about 98 percent”.
With the update, the team hopes to have a minimum viable product for clinical trials to international standards.
Bolarinwa is also clear that the Smart Bra is not meant to replace mammograms but rather help those who cannot easily access mammograms or get them done regularly.
The invention of this Smart Bra has the capacity of reducing female mortality through Breast Cancer by 80 percent if detected early enough. So there you have it, the first of its kind!