TOKYO - A disposable organic sensor that can be embedded in a diaper and wirelessly let a carer know it needs changing was unveiled by Japanese researchers on Monday.
The flexible integrated circuit printed on a single plastic film transmits information and receives its power wirelessly, and could potentially be manufactured for a few yen (US cents), the developers told AFP.
The system, which uses organic materials that can be printed with inkjet technology, was developed by a team led by professors Takayasu Sakurai and Takao Someya at the University of Tokyo.
In addition to use in infants' diapers, the technology can be applied to adult nappies, which are a big-seller in rapidly-ageing Japan.
Regular diapers change colour to indicate they are wet, but a care-giver still needs to take off the wearer's clothes to see.
"If sensing is done electronically, you can tell simply by coming close to the wearer -- without unclothing him or her," Someya said.
The technology could also be put directly on the skin like a plaster, in place of often ring-shaped devices currently used in hospitals to monitor pulse and blood oxygen levels, he said.