Those who believe that wearables are in their diaper days would definitely change their views after reading this. Researchers from the University of Tokyo, led by professors Takao Someya and Takayasu Sakurai have invented the world’s first sensor that could be placed in diapers and is capable to alert you wirelessly if the diaper needs to be changed. This diaper sensor is disposable and could be of great use for parents. This sensor technology can also be used by caretakers of elderly and patients with urinary incontinence and disabilities. If it becomes a reality, the caretakers wouldn’t have to check on the diapers often by removing the clothes but will change it once they have received the alert.
The diaper sensor integrates flexible circuit created on a plastic film. According to the researchers, the manufacturing process is quite cheap and won’t take more than a few cents. Makes sense, we all know how many times parents need to change the diapers of the babies. If the technology is expensive, many parents would declare bankruptcy soon.
Japan’s rapidly ageing population ratio makes it a big market for adult diapers. This breakthrough will help caretakers who would still have to remove the patient’s clothes to see if the diaper is soiled. This diaper is in prototype phase and has been tested for temperature, pressure and wetness in accordance with electrical resistance. As of now, according to Someya, the team has to work on electrical consumption before it finally makes commercial entry.
Additionally, the diapers’ flexible technology could be used as a skin patch to monitor blood Oxygen levels and pulse. This could be a medical breakthrough as the present medical-grade sensors are made of silicone and such rigid materials, causing extreme discomfort to the patients.
The latest to join the diaper revolution is Intel. Since its Curio and Edison days, Intel has been doing some really mind-blowing IoT. Based on Edison platform, four ACER engineer showed their tech prowess at #Computex15 when they unveiled ACER DiaperPie prototype here. The module is tiny, about the size of a coin and is expected to place inside a diaper. This diaper sensor will sense the moisture and methane (pee and poo respectively) as well as the baby’s temperature and posture.
The data is transmitted to your phone via the connecting app over Bluetooth LE. The data is logged in the cloud safely. If the baby needs a diaper change, it sends you an alert.
Well, as of now, we don’t know when the Japanese researchers and Acer plan to commercialize it but if it happens, it can change the medical landscape a lot, not to mention the lives of miserable parents around the world!