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February 14, 2020 8:08 AM   Subscribe

The latest out of MIT: Smart diapers that tell you when it needs changing. (Via Mefi's Own™ adamg's Universal Hub)
posted by Melismata (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
must. not. make. obvious. joke. please. no. arrrghh...

It's the literal Internet of Shit!

posted by gwint at 8:17 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]

enough to trigger the RFID tag to send a radio signal to an RFID reader up to 1 meter away.

you have to periodically swipe your baby over an RFID reader
posted by BungaDunga at 8:29 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]

It's true that for thousands of years we have had no way of knowing when to change a diaper.
posted by bleep at 8:51 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]

Pay attention to phones instead of babies. We don't need enough staff to watch them. I'm MIT.
posted by bleep at 8:53 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]

This is one of their pranks right?
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:54 AM on February 14

My kids have been out of diapers for nearly a decade now and I still get that spidey-sense reaction the moment I catch a microscopic whiff of that smell. Does that reflex ever wear off?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:56 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]

Great, disposable diapers are already made out of petroleum-based matter that take 600 years to biodegrade, let's add more non-biodegradable ingredients into their manufacture.
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:58 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]

splitpeasoup, that's part of the Internet of Shit that doesn't get much coverage - for every smart(er) device we get, there's more combined streams of waste produced, plastics and metals all smooshed in to tell us when things need attention, like RFID-embedded toothbrush heads. WTF, just make a reminder on your calendar. Or get a "fancy" toothbrush head with bristles that fade over time.

The only "advancement" in diapers I appreciated was the moisture-indicator. You can't always smell a soggy diaper, so color-changing took out the guess-work, no RFID needed.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:07 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]

I never understood the need to over-engineer the diaper. Many of these problems have actually been solved - its called a cloth diaper and early potty training. They are way easier on the environment then a regular disposable and certainly easier than a "smart" diaper.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:21 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

It's the literal Internet of Shit!

Maybe this is more the Internet of Pee?

posted by carter at 9:27 AM on February 14

I once had the pleasure of seeing a group photo of all the researchers in a chemistry lab holding up pee samples, which bore the title: "We put the "P" in Proteometics!"
posted by wires at 9:35 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

All I had to do was look at my daughter's faces. If they have an expression on their face like they are trying to factor 10 digit numbers in their heads, the diaper will need changing in a couple of minutes (this was very helpful while toilet training).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:48 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]

Every time I read about moisture indicating diapers I get super salty that 34 years ago my parents didn’t realize they should have patented my pee-indicating litmus-strip-in-a-diaper entry for the invention fair. :P
posted by romakimmy at 9:51 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]

I'm a little surprised at all the snark about how silly this is, when the (quite short) article makes very clear that this is being developed partly for hospitals and primarily for use with adult patients who are either too embarrassed or simply unable to indicate to caretakers when they need to be changed. To me at least, it seems like if I were caring for an elderly relative who'd lost bladder control and couldn't change themselves alone, it would be way less embarrassing and intrusive for both of us to have a way to know when they needed to be changed without them either having to make an announcement, or me needing to check their diaper multiple times a day. It seems like a small but definitely helpful way to give patients a little more dignity by not forcing them to discuss their toilet issues continuously, and like something that would make work easier for nurses who have multiple patients to keep track of.
posted by Dorothea Ladislaw at 10:20 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]

I hate humanity.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:25 AM on February 14

I should have been more clear because Dorothea makes a fair point; however, I know this will just be used to automate care of those elderly individuals that can't or won't communicate as well. I guess it's fatalistic to assume it will lead to worse care but that's where my mind goes.

When I'm caring for kids in diapers, well, you don't need this because any modicum of proper care and common sense will cover it without an app styled solution and electronics.

Follow the money. If/when this is deployed I bet it'll lead to profits, both on the manufacture's side and the care-giving industry side, not necessarily better care.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:29 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

I guess I have lost my ability to believe any of this will actually help anyone with anything. That's not to say it really can't or really won't help anyone, I just can't imagine it anymore. And it's usually true that if you think some new invention is stupid there's probably a valid use case you are just not thinking of.
posted by bleep at 11:02 AM on February 14

Those are not smart diapers. A truly smart diaper would be self-changing. Come on guys, this is so obvious.
posted by Delia at 10:36 AM on February 15

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