Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wet diaper alert via sensor

A DISPOSABLE organic and wireless sensor in a diaper that lets a career know it needs changing was unveiled by Japanese researchers this week. The flexible integrated circuit printed on a single plastic film transmits information and receives its power wirelessly, and could potentially be manufactured for a few yen, the developers said.

The system, which uses organic materials that can be printed with inkjet technology, was developed by a team led by professors Takayasu Sakurai and Takao Someya at the University of Tokyo. In addition to use in infant diapers, the technology can be applied to adult nappies, which are a big seller in rapidly ageing Japan.

Regular diapers change color to indicate they are wet, but a caregiver still needs to take off the wearer's clothes to see."If sensing is done electronically, you can simply by coming close to the wearer without unclothing him or her"Someya said.

The technology could also be put on the skin like a plaster, in the place of often ring shaped devices currently used in hospitals to monitor pulse and blood oxygen levels, he said.

Healthcare sensors often use silicon and other relatively rigid materials that can cause them user discomfort. The flexibility of a single sheet of plastic film reduces discomfort for wearers and it means that it can be applied to a large number of places offering greater potential for monitoring by doctors of careers.

The prototype is capable of monitoring wetness,pressure,temperature and other phenomena that cause a change in electrical resistance said Someya.However the team hopes to refine it to reduce power consumption before it goes into widespread use.

Currently the data reading device needs to be a few centimeters from the sensor,but Someya said the team is exploring ways to increase the distance.

Researchers will unveil their work at an academic gathering now underway in San Francisco.

source-AFP Relaxnews

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