We are seeing entire markets slowly turned upside down, thanks to the customization aspects offered through 3D printing technologies. Traditional manufacturing methods churn out thousands or even millions of the same sized products, and companies typically have a ‘one size fits all,’ or perhaps ’15 sizes fit all’ ideology. The facts are that everyone is different. Whether it be shoe size, waste size, bust size, or head size, human beings do not fit into certain molds.
For example, when you go to by new shoes, you have to choose the size which ‘fits best,’ not the size which actually fits perfectly. Even if your foot is a certain length which fits perfectly into a given shoe size, that doesn’t mean it will fit width wise, or have the proper arch support. This is why we have seen several companies launch with the vision of 3D printing shoes which are exact fits.
Just like with shoes, this is also the case with bras. One startup company, founded by a woman named Qian Jin, called Joyfit is trying to customize the bra buying experience. Jin who has a ph.D in chemistry at Columbia University in New York, has a vision of using 3D printing to make bras more comfortable for women around the world. According to the company their “Joyfit bras are able to enhance the breast curve according to the customer’s shape profile as well as her request in padding, lifting and coverage levels.”The way Joyfit works is actually fairly simple. A customer will download a mobile application, in which a panoramic video is to be taken of their upper torso. Joyfit makes sure that all videos remain confidential and secure. Once the video is taken, the customer can now use Joyfit’s interactive application to visualize various sizes, as well as pushing effects, by simply adjusting the topography of bra inserts via the software. When they find the perfect fit, they will upload the video as well as their choices they have made to the cloud. At this point, the system will crunch the data, while analyzing the video, to come up with the perfect dimensions for a final 3D print of custom silicone inserts. The inserts are then easily placed inside of a custom made outer bra shell.
It is estimated that between 80-85% of women are currently wearing the wrong size bra. In doing so, they could be doing serious harm to their posture, as well as having to deal with possible neck, back, and shoulder pain, due to improper support. Customization via 3D printing, within this market, is certainly needed. Whether women will feel comfortable enough to take part in such a process is yet to be seen. Joyfit aims to quickly move forward with this initiative, however, they are looking for seed capital on a funding site called istart.org, in order to get started. They would like to come to market offering their customized 3D printed bras for just $99.99, and eventually hope to expand Joyfit, to not only offer other 3D printed wearable products, but also integrate wearable devices, such as biosensors, and diagnostic tools within their 3D printed products.