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Make way in your underwear drawers, ladies (or gents with certain proclivities). The world’s first three-dimensionally printed disposable panties could hit store shelves as early as next year. Designed for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding or urinary incontinence, the product features a form-fitting absorption pad that can be worn up to 12 hours without leakage. In the decade since Israeli inventor Tamar Giloh proposed the idea, her Manchester, England-based firm has raised $10 million to develop an automated printing system that creates a stretchy, biodegradable fabric known as “Cosyflex.” By layering natural rubber-latex polymers and cotton fibers using a spray gun, a technique that requires neither cutting nor waste, Tamicare’s technology can churn out a pair of skivvies in under three seconds or up to 10 million per year.

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“We set out with a need to solve something and create a product, and then we realized we had developed a totally different and innovative technology,” Giloh, CEO of Tamicare, told Bloomberg News. “This is a multi-billion-dollar market.”

Beyond feminine hygiene, Cosyflex has applications in the medical or cosmetics industries.

Make no mistake, Tamicare’s garment has more in common with a sanitary napkin (albeit with more aesthetic possibilities) than sexy lingerie. “It is like a panty with a pad in it, but it isn’t anything like the Kimberly Clark pull-up,” Giloh added.

Beyond feminine hygiene, Cosyflex has applications in the medical industry as a compression bandage or within the cosmetics market as a mask. “Anywhere a piece of fabric would need many levels of compression is ideal for this product,” Giloh said.

+ Tamicare

[Via Bloomberg News]