July 10, 2013
Smart Diapers Will Let Parents Keep Tabs On Baby’s Urinary Health
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Though it's still in its infancy, "wearable computing" is most often defined these days as glasses or wrist watches. The term is obviously more broad than these devices allow, however, and one New York startup is pushing these boundaries right to the bottom end.
Pixie Scientific has put up a project on Indiegogo called "Smart Diapers," explaining that "360 million diapers are changed every day. None of this information has been used until Smart Diapers."
It's a simple yet brilliant idea. A urine analysis square is built into the diaper, and when it becomes wet it can be scanned with a smartphone app to determine the urinary health of the child. This may be reminiscent of another startup, called Biosense Technologies, that has built a very similar app which scans a urine analysis strip with an iPhone and returns helpful information about levels of glucose, proteins, ketones, etc. in the body.
Smart Diapers work in the same way, just for babies.
In an interview with the New York Times, Pixie Scientific founder Yaroslav Faybishenko explains the moment he decided to build Smart Diapers.
"I was driving with my wife and daughter one day, when my wife asked if the baby had wet herself," he said. "I realized she was sitting in data."
Faybishenko and his wife decided to start making and selling Smart Diapers soon thereafter, giving other curious and health-minded parents the chance to measure their child's health.
Parents would only need to scan these diapers once a day, and every bit of information captured from the embedded dry-reagent panel is stored in the app. This information can be useful to parents in many ways. Moms and Dads who want to keep a watch out for potential illness can track these levels to better understand what's going on inside their child's system. Furthermore, parents who need to take their child to the hospital can show healthcare professionals this data to help doctors diagnose and treat their baby. If the app does pick up any abnormalities or otherwise troubling data, it will alert the parents.
"This is about health monitoring, not understanding whether the diaper is wet," said Jennie Rubinshteyn, Faybishenko's wife, in an interview with ABC News.
With an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and experience in finance, Rubinshteyn runs the books for the company while Faybishenko uses his experience in computer science and health technology to handle the technology side of things. Two biomedical engineers on the team help round out the Pixie Scientific startup.
The team is currently hosting Smart Diapers on crowdfunding site Indiegogo with a goal to raise $225,000 in the next two months. At the time of this writing, they've raised just over six thousand dollars by offering different incentives to donors who support at different levels.
Along with raising money, Pixie Scientific is also working with the FDA to approve Smart Diapers and is also testing these smart pants in pediatric hospitals. Though they aren't yet settled on a price, the team expects Smart Diapers to be pricey: About 30 to 40 percent more expensive than normal disposable diapers. Since the diapers only need to be scanned once a day, the team is planning to sell Smart Diapers in a pack with regular diapers to help keep costs down.