Sexy red lingerie and heavy breathing have traditionally gone hand in hand. But a bra from inventor, Dr. Elena Bodnar, is designed to let people breathe easier. Her Emergency Bra is a protective device that transforms from a bra into two respiratory pace masks to filter out harmful airborne particles, such as those released by fire, explosion, terrorist, radiological, biological attack, and natural disasters.

Recognizing that most people don’t generally carry around specialized respiratory devices, Dr. Bodnar designed a device that would be at hand when needed. The bra was an obvious choice because the majority of women wear a bra every day and the cups are already in the shape of a facemask. She added a few design features to give the bra the extra functionality, including shoulder straps that easily convert into adjustable head straps, flex inserts along the top rim of the cups which mold tightly around the nose and bridge area, and an inner liner/filler that acts like a butterfly valve during inhale cycles.

Dr. Bodnar took out the Ig Nobel Public Health Prize last year with the Emergency Bra. The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to “celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology.”

When accepting the award Dr. Bodnar said, “isn’t it wonderful that women have two breasts, not just one? We can save not only our own life, but also the life of a man of our choice next to us.”

Dr. Bodnar points out that the Emergency Bra doesn’t compromise in terms of aesthetics, shape, style or comfort when compared to traditional bras and she has now announced the commercial availability of the Emergency Bra. Currently only available in red, it sells for US$29.99 in sizes from 32B to 40C.

While it’s good to be prepared, ladies should probably avoid advertising the fact they’re wearing an Emergency Bra, lest teenage boys are tempted to start a fire or instigate some other kind of event that will result in the woman having to rip her bra off.