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Japan Sensor Will Let Diaper Say Baby Needs Changing

The University of Tokyo's Takao Someya shows the world's first disposable wireless organic sensor embedded in a diaper.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a diaper that can alert parents of the need to change their baby.

Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP

Diapers could enabled to notify parents when they need to change their baby, using a disposable organic sensor developed by University of Tokyo professors Takayasu Sakurai and Takao Someya.

The researchers have embedded the sensor, which can wirelessly transmit information and receive power, in a diaper.

"If sensing is done electronically, you can tell simply by coming close to the wearer--without unclothing him or her," says Someya.

The flexible integrated circuit, which is printed on a single plastic film and can be put directly on the skin like a plaster, will not cause discomfort like healthcare sensors that use silicon and other relatively rigid materials. The prototype system includes a sensor and data-reading device, and is capable of monitoring wetness, pressure, temperature, and other factors that cause a change in electrical resistance.

The cost of manufacturing the sensors will be just a few cents, and their organic materials can be printed with inkjet technology. The system has other applications for enabling doctors and carers to monitor the well-being of its wearers.

The team wants to reduce its power consumption and increase its capacity to read data beyond a few inches.

From Agence France-Presse
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