Baby tech: Pampers to deliver a big diaper change

July 21, 2019 by Nancy Cohen, Phys.org

In some home soon, a new parent will enjoy a smartphone glance as the first-time mom reads messages like Claire's diaper is dry. Bottle 46 minutes ago. Asleep 1 hour 22 minutes.

The phone messages are just part of an entire system coming from Pampers. Instead of just pushing out a debut of diapers tracking urine, Pampers has intentions of bring you a connected called Lumi. That is tech talk for telling a parent when the baby has wet the diaper plus delivering other information.

It is not on shelves now; the Pampers site is inviting visitors to sign up for a waiting list. The system is planned for this fall.

How Lumi works: "The sensor keeps an eye on the blue wetness strip outside of the diaper to determine how soaked it is... you'll need to buy Lumi-optimized version of the diapers to use the sensor, as they have larger and more visible wetness strips," said Devindra Hardewar in Engadget.

But wait, there is more. Marie Baca in The Washington Post said Pampers intends to send the user the baby's wake and sleep times and feeding times.

After all, could a smart diaper that just announces urine alone make consumers pop the corks. No. Hardewar commented that Pampers "is aiming for something a bit more expansive. The Lumi system is meant to make an infant's first year easier for parents by delivering as much data as possible."

(The 1080p wide-angle HD monitor has and two-way audio. It tracks room temperature and humidity, according to the Pampers site.)

To understand why Pampers would want to expand into smart diaper territory, a follow-the-money analysis appeared in May, in Vox. Pampers is hardly a lone player in the "sprawling diaper-tech war."

The author, Michael Waters, quoted Ali Dibadj, who tracks the personal products industry for the investment management group Sanford C. Bernstein. "The fact that the birthrates are quite low in the US has stirred a lot of interest in trying to get the consumer to spend more," he said. "The only way they can increase their business is to bring better products to the market. Their whole hope is to create products that the consumer base will pay more for."

The system that Pampers has in the wings has several components: (1) activity sensors, (2) the notification app, for Android and iPhone, and (3) video monitor. Engadget said that a Logitech camera has been fashioned into the Wi-Fi baby monitor.

Both Verily and Logitech worked with Pampers on the system. Verily is involved with software platforms that can help gather healthcare information. Verily's chief medical and scientific officer, Dr. Jessica Mega, said the company used its past expertise on sensors and software for the product.

Pampers worked with Logitech to develop its camera. The camera also serves as a hub for the activity sensor, helping to push its information to your Pampers account. When it comes to security, said Engadget, Pampers said it's relying on Logitech's encrypted video platform.

What's next? Pampers has not yet mentioned a price for the Lumi system but reports said it would come out this fall, and the site is asking that interested parties sign up for the wait list. The Lumi system includes two packs of diapers, and Pampers will offer replacements by subscription and in some stores.

Rebekah Tuchscherer in U.S. Today described what the online customer will get:

"A medium, teal-colored box will then arrive at your doorstep containing a 1080p wide angle HD video monitor, two activity sensors and two packs of specialized diapers with velcro-like patches on the front, where the sensors are placed. The price is not yet available."

She added: You turn one of the on and place it on the designated diaper patch. The sensor automatically tracks the baby's wet diapers and sleep patterns, sending the information to the Lumi app on your phone. Parents can also chart feeding times and milestones to see a fuller scope of how their child's routines evolve over time."

Cincinatti Business Courier: The Lumi by Pampers system is designed for babies ranging from newborn to 12 months old, and the diapers will be available in sizes zero to 4.

In the bigger picture, how imminent is baby tech? The way Baca sees it, the train is already in the station.

"Companies have launched connected bassinets, smart night lights and pacifiers, bottles that track feedings and even apps to replicate the sound of a parent saying, 'Shush.'"

In the beginning of this year there was word that Korean startup company Monit had unveiled a 'smart diaper' at the CES, where the sensor is attached to the outside of a baby's diaper and can also sense when the diaper is soiled; CNET said that this Monit smart monitor launched in Korea and Japan at the end of 2018 and that the company was partnering with Kimberly Clark (Huggies is from Kimberly-Clark) to bring Monit's tech to Huggies. Meanwhile, a May report in Vox reported that a spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark said the company was considering a US launch.

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