Apparently, they exist. Farm Show magazine
Dairy farmers can reduce mastitis by fitting their cows with "bras", according to Michael Battisti, a Syracuse, New York, dairy farmer, who outfits half of his 69-cow herd with brassiere-like harnesses to keep them from damaging low-hanging udders with their hooves... "They keep the udders clean and the teats tucked up out of the way so they won't get stepped on," says Battisti, who has used bras on his cows for several years.
Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram - July 2, 1977
Created by Kursty Groves. The bra monitored the wearer’s heartbeat and contacted the police if there was a sudden change indicative of a panic response (suggesting that the wearer was being attacked or in danger). The bra was reportedly going to be manufactured and sold by the British design firm PDD, but as far as I can tell, it never made it to market.
Image source: Visual Arts Data Service
Discover magazine - October 1999
Atlanta Constitution - July 25, 1999
Organic Basics boasts that its Silvertech 2.0 line of underwear has been treated with anti-microbial silver chloride, and therefore never needs to be washed. Or, at least, only needs to be washed every few weeks.
Maybe that pitch works for some people, but it doesn't work for me. I don't want to be rewearing a pair of sweaty, old underwear, even if it has been anti-microbially treated.
Product page (Kickstarter)
From Omni magazine (Aug 1981): "The latest discotechnological breakthrough is an item called Rock and Roll Hot Pants. By wiring your shorts or panties to a stereo speaker with a 15-foot cord, which relays the music to a two inch disc on your waistband,”you get an incredible tingle all over your body,” claims inventor David Lloyd."
Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Jan 27, 1981
Omni magazine - August 1981
I wonder where Katsuo Katugoru was during the big 2011 tsunami... if he got a chance to use his invention.
Orlando Sentinel - Aug 23, 1998
I've concluded that Katsuo's inflatable underpants were fake news. Never happened. Columnist Mark Gibbs called it out as such in his May 4, 1998 column in Network World magazine
. He also offered some prescient thoughts about the emergence and possible consequences of the fake-news phenomenon:
Tokyo commuter Katsuo Katugoru caused havoc on a crowded tube train when his inflatable underpants unexpectedly went off. The rubber underwear was made by Katsuo himself and was designed to inflate to 30 times their original size in the event of a tidal wave. "I am terrified of water, and death by drowning is my greatest fear," said Katsuo, 48.
— Unsubstantiated story carried March 3, 1998, by London's Daily Telegraph, National Public Radio and many other serious news organizations.
What's interesting about this story (other than the weirdness) is the coverage the story received. According to some reports, The Associated Press sourced it, but no one has been able to find any AP reference. You have to wonder how the likes of NPR and the Daily Telegraph could run with it.
What the event illustrates is a phenomenon that will become increasingly common — the Internet raising gossip, jokes and misinformation to the status of truth. This is what I call "anti-data." Anti-data is not the opposite of data, rather it is the stuff that dilutes and invalidates the data you need.
Part of the reason anti-data exists is because the Internet supports the rapid transfer of huge amounts of what we'll call, for the sake of argument, "news." Way back in 1967, Marshall McLuhan noted the consequence of speedy news delivery as a general trend of modern media in "The Medium is the Message: An Inventory of Effects," (p. 63):
Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition.
The Internet amplifies this effect and applies it not only to news but also to intelligence about markets, people and business concerns in general.
To corporations, this should be a great concern. As your employees begin to rely on pattern recognition over data analysis, generally their judgment will become less consistent.
Their correct conclusions may well become more accurate, but their wrong ones will tend toward the catastrophic. These extremes might average the same as prior judgments, but the fact that the highs are stellar and the lows, abysmal, will induce chaotic behavior.
"Buddhist priests blessed 200,000 used brassieres yesterday in a temple memorial service for cast-off underwear."
Tampa Tribune - June 8, 1986
Philadelphia Daily News - June 7, 1986
I'm not sure of the exact date when this ran, but from the price of the shirts, it must have been sometime in the 1960s.
The manufacturers of LadyCare Magnets
claim that women can ease the symptoms of menopause by magnetizing their underwear.
I guess it can't hurt, but might look a bit odd if random metallic objects (forks, paperclips, etc.) are attracted to your crotch.