The elderly have a loose bladder, and it becomes difficult to change the diaper from time to time. Two institutions, Singapore Agency for Science and Technology and Research Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) have joined hands to create a sensor based diaper that can give timely alerts to caregivers via SMS. Soiled undergarments are one of the reasons of permeating disease and infection among the elderly. Not to mention the inconvenience, embarrassments and uncomfortable feelings the old souls have to go through every other day.
The system is composed of a thin disposable sensor strip and a compact wireless transmitter and receiver. The whole system can be incorporated into current adult diapers that are used in homes and caretaking houses. The cheap sensor that is to be used can be made from plastic, metal or even paper, and it can be disposed off easily. The transmitting receiving communications antennae can be removed and reused with ease.
Once the system is in place in the diaper, it will sense the wetness level and alert the caregiver once it reaches a preset level via SMS so that he can come and change it. Therefore, there will be less embarrassment for the elderly due to the discretion of the process. The product was tested on 20 people in a retirement home in Singapore in 2013 and it was subsequently approved by the Agency for Integrated Care and Dr. Philip Yap, who works at the Kho Teck Puat Hospital Singapore. The results were very encouraging as the patients wearing the sensor diapers were found to be spending 90 percent less time in soiled condition than others with no technology. The caregiver got alerted immediately, and the diaper was changed in an instant.
IBT made a resulting company named Wet Alert to bring this useful tech to the market. It won the third prize for the Long Term Care Quality Poster Competition by the national ministry of health. Hopefully, we will be seeing the technology anytime soon. The diapers sensors can be made to work in baby ones too because let’s face it, the baby industry is much bigger than the elderly ones. There is also the issue of getting their consent that proves difficult from time to time.