Bras Can Save Your Life

22 Sep

Yes, they’re uncomfortable. But bra-burning was apparently a feminist myth, and Dr. Elena Bodnar has found a use for bras beyond merely stopping gravity making breasts bounce/hurt. Last year, she won the Ig Nobel Public Health Prize for “for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander,”

Should you be US-based, she’ll be demonstrating her prize-winning creation—and a newly developed counterpart device for men—at the MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02115 on September 28, 2010, 11:00 am. She will take questions from the media and provide free samples of the Emergency Bra to press representatives so that they can, in her words, “get a feel of the product.”

Dr. Bodnar’s invention, which was only in prototype form in 2009, is now available to the general public as the “Emergency Bra.” According to Bodnar, producing the Emergency Bra was a year-long process requiring a balance act between safety engineering, economical design, and aesthetics: “First and foremost, it is a beautiful piece of lingerie.” Information on how to purchase the Emergency Bra is available online

Dr. Bodnar, currently a resident of Chicago and founder and head of The Trauma Risk Management Research Institute, was born in Ukraine. As a young physician, she treated people who were affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. Her discovery that particle inhalation accounted for as much human damage as radiation provided the inspiration for the Emergency Bra.

Two days after the press conference, Dr. Bodnar will take part in this year’s Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard University, where she will help honor the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize winners, and where she will present Emergency Bras to several Nobel laureates. The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will be webcast live. A video of Dr. Bodnar’s 2009 Ig Nobel Prize acceptance speech during which she placed bra-masks on the faces of three Nobel laureates including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and novelist Orhan Pahmuk, can be seen here

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