Knowing when to change the diapers of your child can sometimes be tricky. Sometimes, babies might not necessarily cry if their diapers need changing, and sometimes when they cry, it could be for other reasons too. Of course, the most straightforward way would be to actually smell the diaper, but if you’d rather not, researchers at MIT might have a solution.
This comes in the form of an RFID tag that can send an alert to a device when it becomes wet. The tag is placed below a layer of super absorbent polymer, which is a type of hydrogel used in diapers to help soak up moisture, so when the hydrogel gets wet, it becomes slightly conductive and triggers the RFID tag to send a signal to a nearly RFID reader.
While smart diapers aren’t really new, the work done by the researchers could yield potentially cheaper ways of monitoring a baby’s diapers. The researchers estimate that the sensor could cost less than 2 cents to manufacture, meaning that it could be created in large quantities without raising prices of diapers by too much.
They also imagine that over time, it could get even smarter by recording and identifying health problems such as constipation and incontinence, as well as being useful in hospitals where nurses might need to care for multiple babies at the same time.