Scientists in Japan have developed a new urine-powered sensor that can alert caregivers when a diaper is wet and ready to be changed.
A team from the Ritsumeikan University in Japan worked on the diaper for about five years, with the aim of caring for ageing patients suffering from urinary incontinence.
Producing a sensor suitable for a diaper proved to be a challenge, researchers said.
They first developed a urine sensor too rigid to embed into a diaper. Flexible embeddable battery and sensor contain a chemical potentially unsafe for humans and their charging times varied.
The new diaper sensors overcome all of those problems by using a urine-activated battery, ‘Gizmodo’ reported.
Batteries operate based on the function of two electrodes separated by an electrolyte. The scientists embedded two flexible electrodes into a disposable diaper for their tests.
The battery attaches to a tiny capacitor for storing the generated electricity, and a transmitter which can beam its signal to a receiver up to 16 feet away.
The research was published in the IEEE Sensors Journal.