Smartphones, smartcars, smart watches, and now smart diapers? Yes.
Examining urine for signs of illness is nothing new. King George III (the ‘mad king,) had his urine analyzed because of his sporadic madness and the fact that his pee was sometimes blue. Tibetan urine analysis has been going on for centuries.
These companies are just taking this to a whole new level, by putting smart technology in diapers and introducing an app to parents, that can let them know when their child is sick, before the child has outward symptoms.
It works like this:
Put your baby in a smart diaper and scan the diaper once a day with the Smart Diaper mobile app. The app will send data to be analyzed while you change your child. Conditions that may be detected from Smart urine analysis include urinary tract infections, prolonged dehydration and kidney problems.
According to a past campaign on Indiegogo by Pixie Scientific, urinary tract infections occur in 7-8% of girls before the age of 24 months, and although most aren’t bad, a serious one can lead to poor kidney function and higher blood pressure later in life.
Kidney problems that arise in children as babies can be linked to premature birth, an infection, or undiagnosed diabetes. Many times, outward symptoms don’t show up until years later.
Smart Diapers hope to help parents catch growing problems early on, so they can be treated before becoming major issues.
Will the technology harm your child? Smart Diapers are said to be designed with safety in mind by keeping the dry reagent smart panel separated from a baby’s skin behind the diaper’s absorbent core panel. The two don’t come in contact.
And companies promise to never share any data derived from a child’s urine analysis with other parties. It’s difficult to make something entirely secure, but Pixie Scientific states that,
“All data is securely stored on Amazon’s S3 and Amazon’s databases. Communication between our phone app and Amazon and storage of data is secured by following the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules,” so things should, in theory, be pretty secure.
Surely not all of them. Some will still be crawling around in cloth or Huggies.
And by making sure that a caregiver is paying regular attention to a child, most illnesses can be detected without the intervention of technology.
If the diaper is soaked, it needs to be changed. If your child is crying unconsolably for days, they definitely need a visit to the doctor, who can evaluate and treat the real problem, head-on.
But for some parents, this product could be a real boon-especially if your child was born with complications that could use constant monitoring.
We’re developing apps to turn on the coffee maker from the driveway- why not for detecting chemically imbalanced pee in diapers?