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Just what is a smart diaper? If you haven’t heard the term yet, you will be hearing more of it in the coming years. Learn everything smart adult diapers.
What is a Smart Diaper Explained in Two Sentences.
Smart diapers are diapers with embedded technology, either sensors or chips, that communicate with an app. The sensor gives you realtime information on saturation levels and also sleep patterns to enable timely changes and better comfort.
History of the Smart Diaper
The invention of the smart diaper is muddied a bit because face it, the concept of “smart something” is not new. It’s the same concept of connecting a product with an app. However, an MIT research is widely credited with developing a smart diaper.
See the best smart adult diapers in the market right now.
How Does a Smart Diaper Work?
The team at MIT developed a diaper with a moisture sensor with an RFID tag in the super absorbent portion of the diaper below a layer of hydrogel. As the hydrogel gets wet, it gets slightly conductive and this activates the RFID tag which sends a signal to a connected app.
The hydrogel simply acts as an antenna that senses wetness.
What is an RFID and How Does it Work?
There are two types of RFIDs; active and passive. Active RFIDs are powered by batteries well as passive RFIDs are powered by electromagnetic forces. This electro magnetism can be a small source and can activate the RFID anytime it is stimulated.
Are Smart Diapers Safe for Adults and Babies?
Smart diapers are made using passive RFIDs so there is no power source and is safe from that perspective. RFIDs are made up of very simple components, a transponder, a receiver to read information, and a transmitter to send information.
What are the Benefits of a Smart Diaper
Smart diapers do have their advantages and offer some convenience and very detailed information. Smart diapers can send wetness information so you don’t have to check the wearer – especially at night. This allows for more un disturbed sleep for the caregiver and the wearer.
Smart diapers can also monitor more than just wetness. For instance, every time wetness is noted, the time of day is also logged. This helps caregivers see weekly and even more longterm patterns of either urine or voids. This helps caregivers plan better for heavier periods.
Are Smart Diapers Expensive?
Surprisingly, they aren’t too expensive. They are relatively cheap to manufacture. Although, they are a bit more expensive than “dumb diapers”. The team at MIT estimates the sensors to cost on average 2 cents per piece. But there is more than just manufacturing a sensor. The cost to produce, ship market, and also build and support the app has to be factored in.
They are bound to get cheaper as it becomes more commonplace and manufacturers figure out how to cut cost in order to attract mass consumption.
Should You Use Smart Diapers?
Smart diapers do provide convenience but whether you need it and how badly you need it depends on your situation. The RFIDs can only transmit data within a certain radius so the caregiver has to be relatively nearby, or in the same house to receive the signal.
It isn’t transmitting data over cellular data so you can’t make a grocery run or head out for a few hours hoping to keep track of your patients’ status. This means, you’ll be at home to check the patient yourself.
The best use-cases for smart diapers right now is for night time or travel time where the wearer is at the back seat or sleeping and you don’t have to stop to do diaper checks or disturb their sleep.
Smart diapers are relatively new and not every brand option is available in the US. Brands like ABENA and Tena lead the pack with newcomers like Smardii. There have been various other companies like DiaperSens which took on the space but have since shut down.
This might be an indicator that people aren’t quite ready yet for the smart diaper. It’s only the large brands that have the user base and the marketing budgets that could slowly introduce and get buy-in for large scale adoption of the smart diapers.
Lastly, there are a couple of Chinese and other Asian countries that manufacture smart diapers. Whether they get past the strict US scrutiny and made safe for Americans to purchase is left to be see.
Once such Chinese Smart Adult diaper is Wonderkin.co.
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