New diaper with sensor system generates power from urine

Credit: Ritsumeikan University.

A new device has been created that, when fitted to a diaper, wirelessly signals if the diaper needs changing and runs without the need for an external energy source. The device has been titled as a “wireless involuntary urination sensor system.”

The device, invented by researchers at Ritsumeikan University, was showcased recently to the public. The aim is to use the device at facilities where those that suffer from incontinence reside.

Created by Takakuni Douseki, the device is powered by the breakdown of urine. When the device detects fluid it carries out an estimation of the ideal time for the changing of the diaper it is attached to based on the liquid holding capacity of the diaper. This estimation is then also communicated by the device wirelessly.

The electronic component of the device is designed for reuse, while the other paper components can be discarded after each use. It functions by detecting the electrical resistance of the paper (which depends on the saturation levels in the cloth), and the components involved in the functioning also include activated carbon (which measures 320 x 5 millimeters) and an electrode measuring 1.8 millimeters wide. It stores power in the capacitor of the device and then sends notifications based on the frequency of fluid detection in a certain range of electrical conductivity, and how much fluid is detected.

According to Douseki: “I believe that the difference in current is caused by urine soaking into the fine pores of the activated carbon, realizing a high sensitivity.”

Douseki’s role at the university is not limited to research, he is a professor at the Micro Power System Laboratory in the university’s Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering.

More information can be found at: Ritsumeikan University.

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