This new “smart diaper” sends alerts to your phone when babies need changing. KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Friday, February 3, 2023

This new “smart diaper” sends alerts to your phone when babies need changing.

This new “smart diaper” sends alerts to your phone when babies need changing.

The diaper is made out of paper that has been pre-treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has an outline of a circuit board on it that is traced over with a pencil to transfer graphite to the surface with a tiny lithium battery attached.

Parents will soon know when a diaper needs to be changed — before all the crying starts.

Scientists from Penn State University have created a “smart diaper” — a nappy with a built-in sensor that will send an alert to a phone once it gets wet.


As water molecules are absorbed by the paper, electrons begin to flow to the graphite and set off a sensor, which then sends a message to a phone.

The technology can even indicate how wet the nappy is – letting parents know if it needs changing urgently.

The team, from Penn State University, embedded four of the sensors between the absorbent layers of a nappy to create a 'smart diaper' capable of detecting wetness.

Lead author Dr Huanyu Cheng, who is the father to two young children, said: 'That application was actually born out of personal experience.

'There's no easy way to know how wet is wet, and that information could be really valuable for parents.

'The sensor can provide data in the short-term, to alert for diaper changes, but also in the long-term, to show patterns that can inform parents about the overall health of their child.'

The researchers said their sensor could also be used in hospitals and nursing homes, or even to predict major health concerns like cardiac arrest and pneumonia.

Researchers embedded four of the sensors between the layers of a diaper in order to create the “smart diaper,” as detailed in the journal Nano Letters.

Once the diaper gets wet, the graphite reacts with the liquid and sodium chloride and, as it’s absorbed by the paper, electrons will flow to the graphite to set off a sensor.

The sensor will send a message to a phone, alerting the person that the baby’s diaper needs to be changed.

It can even provide information about how wet the diaper is, which could let parents decide if the diaper needs to be changed immediately.

“That application was actually born out of personal experience,” lead author Dr. Huanyu Cheng, who is the father to two young children, said. “There’s no easy way to know how wet is wet, and that information could be really valuable for parents.”

It also works as part of a non-contact switch, which can sense the humidity changes in the air from the presence of a finger without the finger touching the sensor.

'The atoms on the finger don't need to touch the button, they only need to be near the surface to diffuse the water molecules and trigger the sensor', Dr Cheng said.

'When we think about what we learned from the pandemic about the need to limit the body's contact with shared surfaces, a sensor like this could be an important tool to stop potential contamination.'

The sensor and phone app are still in the developmental stage, but the researchers said they hope that at some point in the future it could be made available for the public.

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