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Batteryless, Urine Powered Smart Diapers Notify You When It’s Time to Change Them

December 22nd, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

One of the downside with current smart wearables is that most need to be recharged quite often, every day, week or month, and we’re still a long way of 10 year battery life offered by typical watches. I’m hopefully that eventually many devices won’t need to be recharged at all as we’ll have made improvements both in terms of power efficiency and energy harvesting using solar, body heat, vibrations and other techniques.

batteryless-urine-powered-smart-diaperTakakuni Douseki, professor at the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering of Ritsumeikan University, has been working on micro energy harvesting, and his latest “wireless involuntary urination sensor system” notifies the user when it’s time change the diapers without the need of any battery, instead using energy generated by urine and stored in a capacitor in order to transmit the data wirelessly.

The prototype is using a modified baby diaper with a 320x5mm activated carbon piece, and a 1.8mm aluminum electrode placed between the absorbent and a waterproof sheet. The amount of electricity generated increases with the amount of urine, with the current peaking at the time of “release” as shown in the chart below.

urine-power-chart

All that electricity is stored in a capacitor, and when the amount of urine reaches a threshold level (80 cm3), the system transmits an ID signal over a wireless connection up to 5 meters. The system may be commercialized later for example to care of patients suffering from incontinence. The research paper about urine energy harvesting and self-powered diaper can be found on IEEE website.

Via Nikkei Technology

  1. obarthelemy
    December 22nd, 2016 at 18:04 | #1

    Considering that babies have been crying when wet since forver, and are not much good at anything else except that (oh, crying when hungry too), I’m not sure an alarm for when wet is *that* useful, it’s already there ;-p

  2. December 22nd, 2016 at 19:12 | #2

    @obarthelemy
    Good point. Maybe that’s why they plan to use it for the elderly instead.

  3. Shimon
    December 22nd, 2016 at 23:24 | #3

    I’d love to see an article on the state of human powered 5V/2A solutions.

    The expression “motion pictures” on a TV box/SBC would gain a whole new level of meaning, imagine the fun and exercise! 🙂

  4. December 23rd, 2016 at 10:30 | #4

    @Shimon
    Maybe a treadmill or bicycle used to generate energy stored in a battery connected to a TV box. Then no more couch potatoes!

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