NIGERIA – Nigerian robotics engineer Kemisola Bolarinwa has designed an innovative Smart Bra that uses ultrasound technology to detect breast cancer in the early stages with hopes to reduce the cancer burden in Africa.

The Smart Bra inventor Kemisola said that she developed the technologically advanced device that detects breast cancer early to potentially save African women long journeys to access cancer screening services.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Sub-Saharan Africa with 129,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020 and the disease has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide

The organization highlights that diagnosis of the disease at an advanced stage greatly reduces the possibilities of curative treatment but many African women experience delays in being diagnosed.

The Smart Bra’s technological ability to detect breast cancer earlier and in a safe manner is expected to reduce the current high mortality rates related with the disease.

It was developed using ultrasound technology and the chargeable, battery-operated device comes with mobile and web applications that can display where a tumor is on the breasts without producing any radiation waves.

The device is worn on the breasts for a maximum of 30 minutes to determine whether the tumor  scanned is harmless or malignant and the online platform has an interface for the result to be transmitted to a doctor.

Women of different age groups including teenagers can use the innovative device safely from the comfort of their home to examine their breasts on a regular basis.

The device which is set to launch by July 2022 after a four-year journey seeks to effectively address the barriers to early detection of breast cancer in the fight against cancer.

Moreover, the invention has already received the approval of Nigeria’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Communications Commission.

We started working on the Smart Bra design in 2018 and by February 2020 we had come up with the first prototype. Since then, the company has developed ten more devices,” revealed Bolarinwa, Founder of Nextwear Technology.

She further revealed that the wearable technology company team has conducted a local trial which resulted in about 70 per cent accuracy adding that they were working towards 95-97 per cent accuracy.

The project is funded with revenue from the company’s first-ever product a global positioning system necklace device that alerts wearers’ families and friends of their movements to help navigate insecurity in Nigeria.

Bolarinwa also disclosed that her team will consider affordability when the smart bra is finally produced for the market but delays in getting raw materials shipped from overseas have been a challenge.

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