Here’s a cancer-detecting bra that’s better than a mammogram

Early detection is vital to helping halt the spread of breast cancer and permit a full recovery. That’s why many women endure the discomfort of having their breasts smooshed once a year or every few years as part of a routine mammogram. But what if instead of making an appointment at an imaging center and having a machine flatten your breasts, all you had to do was put on a bra?

The prototype iTbra

The prototype iTbra

Cyrcadia Health, a startup, has pioneered a system that includes a series of temperature sensors embedded in a bra, along with an algorithm and an app that purports to detect breast cancer earlier than a mammogram and better than a mammogram when it comes to dense breast tissue. Rob Royea, CEO of Cyrcadia Health, says that by 2016 he aims to have FDA approval for the iTbra in the U.S. so doctors can offer it to patients in place of a mammogram. Eventually, consumers would be able to buy the product over the counter and use it in place of monthly self-exams.

The product looks like a sports bra and will eventually hold a grid-like mesh of sensors, manufactured by Flextronics, inside the fabric. The sensors would track temperature changes to monitor increased blood flow that correlates with the growth in cancerous tumors. Early trials at Ohio State University have shown that temperature-sensing tech does detect cancerous tissue. Further trials are ongoing, as well as the continuing FDA approval process for the new digital product (the original FDA approval process was for an analog version that contained a wearable data pack).

As with any connected device, the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. The wireless connectivity linking the bra to the doctor’s or the patient’s phone makes it far more comfortable to wear than the older analog data pack. The cheaper and smaller sensors make it possible to get a large enough cluster of them inside a bra in the first place. Pulling data off the sensors and analyzing it against other patients and what we know about cancer formation, then tying that back to individual patients immediately, lets detection happen quickly.

Broken down like this, it’s easy to see how the internet of things isn’t some amorphous concept but a series of technological advances that are now being applied together in new ways. For example, The iTbra is getting a boost via a documentary film backed by Cisco, which will be shown at SXSW Film in Austin, Texas next month. [company]Cisco[/company] is getting involved because it hopes to build a big business helping old-line companies understand how to bring technology into their day-to-day operations. Really, what the internet of things will do is let the internet invade pretty much everything from our buildings to our bras.

Today in Mobile

The World Health Organization today released results from the largest study to date on links between mobile use and certain types of cancer, saying the data is still “inconclusive.” As Tomi Ahonen points out, though, that’s not to say that the WHO didn’t turn up some evidence of a link — which has led some news outlets to report that prolonged use does indeed increase the risks of cancer. It’s very difficult to find much of a takeaway from the study, then, but if I’m a high-end user who holds a phone to my head for hours on end, I’m investing in a quality headset and considering limiting my usage a bit.

Vid-Biz: DISH, NBCU, Star Trek

DISH to Pay $5.9M to 46 States; satellite co. dinged with the fee after bad sales practices and numerous consumer complaints. (Consumerist)

NBC Universal had a Bummer of a Second Quarter; revenue was down 8 percent, and profit down 41 percent. (MediaMemo)

Beam Aboard (in an ARG Kinda Way) the Starship Enterprise; special edition DVD and Blu-ray release of Star Trek will use webcams to give users a tour of sections of the ship. (Variety)

Xbox 360 Sales Up Amid Overall Game Depression; bodes well for Microsoft as it transitions the console to more of an entertainment hub via new video features this fall. (Silicon Alley Insider)

Blockbuster: 10 Years, Zero Digital Stategy; Dan Rayburn writes that the movie rental company has been all over the map with different plans, but none have really taken hold. (The Business of Online Video)

Broadcast Interactive Media Gives Cancer Fighters a Platform; those afflicted by the disease can upload content to a number of station sites through the YouNews platform. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Vid-Biz: TiVo, Charity, Christian the Lion

No Decision in TiVo Contempt Case; a federal judge failed to make a decision in TiVo’s request to find Dish Network in contempt over not disabling its DVR functionality. (Multichannel News)

Online Video for a Good Cause; Dailymotion partners with One Laptop Per Child to create a site with videos in compatible formats for the device; Stand Up To Cancer organization guest edits the YouTube home page to raise awareness. (OLPC: Dailymotion Blog); Stand Up: YouTube Blog)

Christian the Lion Becoming a Movie; YouTube vid about a lion reuniting with its previous owners after spending a year in the wild optioned by Sony. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Comcast’s Coutroom Drama Begins; cable co. is appealing FCC enforcement order over the throttling of BitTorrent traffic. (GigaOM)

Component Inputs Coming to Zv Box; new feature will allow additional set-top boxes like DVRs to be hooked up to the device. (CE Pro)