Bras are pretty much some of the oldest pieces of tech around — the undergarment can even trace its roots all the way back to the freelovin' days of ancient Greece. So as something most women wear nearly every day, it's amazing how many studies have come out claiming that ladies everywhere our wearing their bras all wrong. ThirdLove, a new app headed up by a NASA scientist-led engineering team, hopes to change all that with nothing more than an iPhone and a few snapshots.
Currently still in private beta, the app's ultimate goal is to cut back on the uncomfortable garment store measuring sessions (that many women will probably spend their whole life avoiding) by scanning your bust size in the privacy of your own home. And just as you'd expect from NASA-grade engineering, this thing wants to get it right. FastCo tested the app, and as you can see, the app won't settle for anything less than absolute precision:
As instructed, I stand in front of my mirror with my phone at my belly button. "Slightly raise right end of the phone," she says. Then "slightly raise left end of the phone." Then, "slightly raise right end of the phone." After about 50 more rounds of this, there's a gratifying "Good job" and a countdown to the photo. Instructions on the screen ask me to line up a box with the iPhone in the photo and to place a line on my chest. Then the principal voice walks me through the same process for a photo from the sideways perspective.
Once you've perfectly positioned yourself to your iPhone's liking, the better bra magic goes to work. Because as far as we know, it could in fact very well be magic. Ara Nefian, the senior scientist with the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames Research Center who worked on the app, wouldn't get into too many details about their method when prompted by FastCo. He tells them that it "involves several methods of advanced computer vision, body modelling, and machine learning" and uses the iPhone as a "calibration object" to estimate the camera's parameters, but that's about all we get.
So what comes of all these scantily clad selfies? A custom set of ThirdLove products sized just for you. It doesn't matter what that size is — mostly because they don't actually tell you. Yes, all that work and the only information you can actually count is that it will (supposedly) fit like a bulbously shaped glove. Which, pardon my français, is some bullshit.
With $US5.6 million raised in investments and a real, live NASA scientist on board, it certainly seems like it should work. Although, when it doesn't actually give you your appropriate size (presumably the entire reason you downloaded the app in the first place), it's hard to look beyond something that just reeks of marketing gimmick. As previously mentioned though, the app is still in beta, so there is still time for its makers to change their minds — the boobs of the world would be forever grateful. [ThirdLove via Fast Company]