Japanese research team develops “diaper sensor”

Japanese researchers have developed a sensor which would alert parents if a diaper needs changing.

The disposable organic sensor, printed on a single plastic film, can wirelessly transmit information to a care-giver if the diaper needs to be changed.

The prototype of the technology was developed to monitor wetness, pressure and temperature, and can be applied to adult diapers, especially important given Japan’s rapidly ageing population.

“If sensing is done electrically, you can tell simply by coming close to the wearer—without unclothing him or her,” said Takao Someya, a professor leading the research at the University of Tokyo.

The integrated circuit is printed on organic materials using inkjet technology and is flexible enough to reduce discomfort among wearers. It can also be put directly on the skin like plaster.

Researchers are looking into potentially manufacturing the system on a large scale which can prove useful for hospitals and other health facilities.

The team, also lead by professor Takayasu Sakurai, said they would like to refine the technology to reduce its power consumption before it goes to widespread use.

Researchers are exploring how practical the technology can be and whether they can expand the distance between a wearer and a caregiver, and the team will unveil their invention in San Francisco.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: pierrotsomepeople/Flickr

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