Diapers are used not just for babies, but for aging populations, or patients who are bedridden and unable to take care of themselves. It would be convenient in these cases for a caregiver to be notified that a patient, particularly in a multibed hospital, needs changing.
Well, don’t worry! Very soon, we’ll have ‘smart diapers’ with an economical price that will send you a notification to the mobile when a diaper is wet.
Researchers at MIT University have developed a “smart” diaper embedded with a moisture sensor that can detect diaper moisture, signal a nearby receiver, and send parents or caregivers an alert when it is time to change the baby diaper.
What’s more important is the researchers have integrated a low-cost sensor capable of detecting moisture in a conventional diaper. The sensor consists of a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that is placed under a layer of super absorbent polymer, a type of hydrogel that is commonly used in diapers to soak up moisture.
When wet, the material expands and becomes slightly conductive enough to activate the RFID tag to send a radio signal to an RFID reader located at a distance of up to one meter, all without batteries.
It is estimated that the sensor costs less than 2 cents to manufacture, making it a low-cost and disposable smart diaper technology, compared to other solutions for smart diapers.
In addition to domestic use, one of the potential applications of these smart diapers is its use in hospital, where the staff has to take care of several patients at the same time. The results of the research are published in the journal IEEE Sensors.
The issue of smart diapers is not something new. Pampers already sells its Lumi brand of smart diapers to parents. However, they are expensive and are built around a bulky removable Bluetooth sensor that requires regular charging and cleaning. In this case, we talk about something cheap, very small, and extremely practical.