A bra that saves lives: at TEDxCERN, a bra that transforms into a gas mask 

Above is the Emergency Bra, a ordinary-looking brassiere that transforms into two individual gas masks when needed, inspired by the inventor’s experience with the Chernobyl disaster. At TEDxCERN, Marc Abrahams, organizer of the famed Ig Nobel Prize, spoke about the invention — one of the projects to which the Ig Nobels has awarded a prize. From his talk:

This is my favorite brassiere. This is the only brassiere I own. This is an Emergency Brassiere. In an emergency, you can quickly separate it into two protective face masks. One to save your life, and one to save the life of some lucky bystander.

The emergency bra was invented by Dr. Elena Bodnar. Dr. Bodnar grew up in Ukraine. As a young physician in Ukraine, she treated victims — many of them children — of the Chernobyl Power Plant meltdown.

They stayed in touch, she and the other doctors over the years, and they discovered that a tremendous part of the really bad medical damage came from particles in the air that people breathed in. And she kept thinking, if only there had been some simple filter, or a mask, a piece of cloth easily available that people had access to, Chernobyl might not have been such a horrible medical disaster. And that’s why she eventually invented the Emergency Bra. 

Below, Marc’s entire talk, which explains more of the weird, wonderful, and surprisingly meaningful research and projects honored by Ig Nobel:


(Photos via TEDxCERN, Nerve, and Emergency Bra)

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