You can count on my support

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As any engineer worth their salt will tell you, the right support can prevent untold damage. Although even the ancient Greeks had worn simple garments to cover and support the breast, it was only 100 years ago when a German by the name of Sigmund Lindauer patented the idea of a mass manufactured brassière. Thanks to him, ladies blessed with an ample dairy shelf can comfortably support their assets providing they have picked one out of the right size. Providing such support is big business and the brassière market is worth a staggering $16 billion worldwide.

Since Sigmund’s invention 100 years ago, we’ve seen bras to enhance, bras to reduce and pointy conical bras. We’ve seen a frequent flyer bra which eliminates all the metal so women can pass through airport metal detectors without inadvertently setting them off.

As fashions come and go, bras change to match. Backless dresses brought along the strapless bra. With one shoulder dresses came one shoulder bras. In case you don’t fancy carrying your mobile phone, there are bras with a perfect pocket built-in. For ladies who work in the espionage industry, there are bras with a built-in holster for your Walther PPK.

What will the next 100 years bring?

Certainly more wearable technology. We’ve already seen bras that deliver a taser-like shock to would be attackers, which sounds a bit scary if your wife develops Alzheimer’s and forgets to switch it off one day.

I imagine there will be bras that change colour and texture on demand. One day, you could be scanned by a 3D scanner and print your perfect bra on a 3D printer all from the comfort of your own home. It can only be a matter of time before someone comes up with a virtual reality bra for long distance lovers.

With breast cancer one of the most prevalent causes of death among women, I like the idea of a bra which constantly monitors the shape and consistency of the wearer’s breasts. Using tiny sensors, they could detect the slightest change long before it became detectable by touch alone. Maybe such a garment could transmit the data to your doctor so that he could look for any danger signs. Not only that, but it could monitor your heart rate and rhythm at the same time. it would only take a slight tweak to the taser bra and it could become an on demand defibrillator.

New and improved!

One of the 1st washing machines of Constructa

One of the 1st washing machines of Constructa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever you go on a package holiday, there is always the meeting with the holiday rep’ to look forward to. Although it’s wrapped up as an informative session to tell you everything you need to know about your destination, once you peel off the paper-thin disguise, it’s a sales pitch. The rep’ will be looking to supplement their meagre income by selling excursions. They will usually cost far too much and will involve being herded around like cattle from one uninteresting place to the next. Some are better than others, but there are always one or two that seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Once, when we went to Malta, they took us to a traditional village in the back of beyond. They showed us an old house. After a short delay, an old lady came waddling out of the house carrying a basket of washing. She walked down to the river where she started to use two big stones to wash her clothes. It wasn’t very convincing. The rest of the coach party lapped it up, giving the old lady tips in appreciation for the show. She made a tidy packet, and I just knew that secreted away inside her humble abode was a state of the art washer stood next door to a tumble dryer.

There seems to be no end of labour saving devices for the kitchen. In order to carve your Sunday roast, you can use a mechanised carving knife. Don’t give yourself arm ache trying to stir a cake mixture, just throw it into the mixing machine. Do you want some bread? There’s a machine for that. When it comes to making coffee, the sheer range of devices on offer is giddying.

But when it comes to washing, we don’t seem to have advanced much further than the rocks in the river. Yes, we now have washing machines, but you still have to sort through your clothes to make sure your favourite red and white top doesn’t come out pink. We have tumble dryers, but you still have to scoop everything out of the washing machine and load it. If you get it wrong, you end up with a jumper that fits action man. We even have new, improved washing powder that still doesn’t manage to get everything clean.

White goods manufacturers haven’t advanced much since the old twin tub. To give them a helping hand, I’m going to invent the ultimate washing machine. I’m picturing a hopper at the top into which you place all your dirty clothing. Inside, there will be a sorting module which will work out what goes with what. Then there will be the washing machine itself. After the washing machine, there will be a scanner to find any clothing that needs another cycle. Anything that makes it through, will be dried, pressed and folded ready for collection at the bottom.

The little old lady in Malta would be proud.