“Smart diaper” by Alphabet’s Verily would skip sniff test to answer: #1 or #2?

Enlarge / What is this child?

Technology companies are still hoping to clear competition with their latest laptop. But the division of life sciences of Alphabet, Verily, is probably waiting for an eruption with this one.

The company, formerly known as Google Life Sciences, has a patent-pending plan for a wireless "smart layer" that would not only alert a caregiver when there is a new "event", but would analyze and identify the new download. that is, is it a number one or number two? The connected and absorbing gadget triggers the alarm via a connected device and potentially an application, which can catalog and keep a record of events.

In truth, it's not the first to attempt to probe the potential of back devices for babies. Many companies have come before with simple or high-tech moisture sensors – ranging from color-coded bands to wireless alarms . But, argues Vérily in his patent application, the market lacks a practical, affordable and all-in-one design that can make the difference between a splash and a brown code. While both require attention and change, an infant or explosive diaper often requires more urgency, especially if a baby has diaper rash problems.

In all, when it comes to smart layers "there is a lot of room for significant advances in technology to reduce the cost and improve convenience and functionality, making it an option more affordable and reliable ". his patent application. He filed the application in October 2016, but he has just been published recently by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

In truth, did not respond to Ars's request to comment on the drawing.

Absorbent technology

To bring out a winning design that would sparkle the competition, Vérily pushed for an ultra-high-tech layer. The company predicts that the layer will have conducting and sensing elements incorporated in the absorbing zones of the layer, possibly in a network. These elements could include conductive fibers, such as carbon fibers, and / or microelectrodes made of materials such as gold, copper, platinum and conductive polymers. The layer can use these elements to measure the conductivity and impedance between various areas of the layer that are in the potential blow zone. A change in conductivity and impedance would signal that a relief event has occurred, and accurate measurements of one or the other could reveal if it is the stool or the urine that are present. How the diaper can handle especially on both soggy sides is not clear, however.

The built-in layer sensors can be connected to a reusable and attachable electronic module hooked to the front of the layer. This could house a power source, a control circuit, and a transmitter that relays the ground signal to a device connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or another communication protocol. Once transmitted, the doodie call could be picked up by an app on a device such as a smart phone or smart watch, which could alert a caregiver and log each time the baby drops a log .

A diagram of the smart layer paired with a mobile device.

A diagram of the electronic module on the front of the smart layer.

Schematic side view of a layer sensor, according to an embodiment given by way of example.

A flowchart illustrating a method of monitoring a layer.

Also considered to include humidity and temperature sensors, as well as an accelerometer to better assess the state of the diaper. Temperature readings could initiate the detection capabilities of the diaper, essentially determining through body heat that a diaper was put on a baby (or removed). Humidity sensors can periodically send a clean signal, then detect an event and trigger the conductive elements to assess exactly what the layer is packing. And the accelerometer could help detect the position of the diaper on a baby, essentially revealing if it is straddling a heavy load.

I sincerely hope that its design will drop a load of caregivers, who have the "perpetual task" of monitoring diapers for peeing or pooping. Although the company has focused on babies for most of the patent application, she notes that such a laptop could be used for the elderly, sick, disabled, or even animals. For now, it's just a patent-pending idea, though. If or when Verily will bring his smart diaper on the market is not clear – and the cost too.

Images of US Patent Application 15 / 292,389

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