Assessment of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) Sports Brassieres for the U.S. Army Tactical Brassiere (ATB) Program

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Hyegjoo Choi-RokasEdward HennessyStephanie BrownLinda Desimone

Abstract: In an effort to develop a U.S. Army tactical brassiere (ATB), a three-step study was designed and executed. Commercial off the shelf (COTS) sports brassieres were assessed to investigate the effects of different design features on fit, mobility (i.e., breast support, interference), and comfort (subjective rating) relative to the wearer’s anthropometric characteristics (Step 1). Based on the results from the first step of the study, an ATB sizing system was developed (Step 2). Then, the fit model was selected and the accommodation envelope was constructed to develop the brassiere pattern per size based on the ATB sizing system (Step 3). The current study summarizes the results of the first step of the study and includes the relationship between overall coverage, design features, anthropometric characteristics, and their pros and cons as they relate to Soldier mobility.A total of 19 test participants (TPs) volunteered. Data collection sessions were executed following COVID restriction guidelines. Seven configurations (six COTS brassieres and U.S. Army standard issue brassiere as a baseline) were assessed and compared to each other. The six COTS configurations were a combination of three brassiere cup designs (compression, encapsulation and hybrid (more than 1 configuration of cup design)) and two strap designs (straight and racer back). To capture the anthropometric characteristics, a total of 24 traditional dimensions were measured and seven derived dimensions were computed from traditional dimensions. Four additional dimensions were extracted from three-dimensional scan images captured by a Cyberware 3D whole-body scanner. For the mobility assessments, six tasks (Extend and Flex, The Rower, Windmill, Quadraplex, Mountain Climber, and High Jumper) were selected from an Army physical training guide. TPs’ subjective ratings (5-point Likert scale) for support, discomfort and interference on each mobility task were collected upon completion of each task for each test configuration. At the end of the mobility session, TPs provided overall ratings on the attributes of the test configuration. Once data collection on all seven configurations were completed, TPs ranked all test configurations, including their own personal preferred sport brassiere. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA along with Scheffé tests was performed on all applicable anthropometric dimensions. Correlation analyses between anthropometric dimensions and subjective ratings on mobility tasks were conducted to investigate the relationship between design features and mobility. Descriptive statistics, as well as graphical visualization, were produced to compare subjective ratings on mobility tasks between configurations. In all, different brassiere designs had an effect on all compared anthropometric measurements. Each configuration showed distinctive anthropometric characteristics, and those anthropometric differences were often correlated with TPs’ subjective ratings on discomfort and breast support. A detailed investigation for the metrics as well as the comparison of results are further discussed in this paper.

Keywords: Sports Brassiere, Military Clothing and Individual Equipment (CIE), U.S. Army, Mobility assessment, Army Physical Training guide, 3D scan

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001910

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