Students gain accolade for biobased post-mastectomy bra


In the Philippines, a pair of engineering students have won a James Dyson award for a post-mastectomy bra that biodegrades when composted. 

The bra is named Brakong—a nod to bakong, the fast-growing aquatic plant used with polylactic acid to produce the prosthesis. “We can 3D-scan a patient or create a 3D model out of other imaging techniques like CT scan or MRI,” Emmanuelle Pangilinan, who together with fellow University of Philippines student Jason Pechardo designed Brakong, tells “With 3D printing or additive manufacturing, we can make a highly customized form. We can make each Brakong unique to its user, to their bodies.”

In addition to being compostable, Brakong is recyclable. “[I]f you want a refitting, you can give us your old Brakong and then we’ll melt that since it’s made out of polylactic acid, and then we’ll reprint it and adjust it to your body,” says Pechardo.

The prize includes funding of P330,000 (USD$5,800) for further development, which Pangilinan and Pechardo plan to carry out with the Design Centre of the Philippines, ICanServe foundation, and medical advisers. Brakong also enters the running for the international James Dyson Awards, with winners announced in November.