Digital Diapers: A Reality Coming Soon?

Although it might sound like science fiction, in the growing world of mobile medical applications, it looks like the Food and Drug Administration has one more application to review: digital diapers. A diagnostic device and smart phone application in one, these diapers go where no undergarment has gone before.

Pixie Scientific is brainchild behind smart diapers that allow parents to snap a photo of a color coded QR box on the front of the used diaper, send the photo to the cloud, and get back information on hydration, kidney function, bacteria presence and more. Limited production of the diapers has begun to support a pediatric study at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, and the company is actively working on FDA approval. The company is also raising money through Indie-GoGo to help fund their research and development, although they remained well short of their $225,000 goal as of July 12, 2013.

The diapers contain a dry-reagent panel, similar in function to dip sticks used to analyze urine at a physician’s office, and the QR code allows cloud analyzing of the colorful results. The application  even allows you to email the information to your pediatrician’s office. The diapers, not available to the average consumer, will most likely be priced at 30 to 40 percent more than a typical diaper. Although some have expressed criticism that the technology isn’t necessary, it certainly shows what might be possible in the world of pediatric diagnosis.