Garment-integrated wetness sensing for leak detection

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Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers - ISWC '17, ISSN: 1550-4816, Vol: Part F130534, Page: 26-33

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Foo, Esther W.; Pettys-Baker, Robert Mt; Sullivan, Shawn; Dunne, Lucy E.
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Computer Science
conference paper description
Detecting fluid emissions (e.g. urination or leaks) that extend beyond containment systems (e.g. diapers or adult pads) is a cause of concern for users and developers of wearable fluid containment products. Immediate, automated detection would allow users to address the situation quickly, preventing medical conditions such as adverse skin effects and avoiding embarrassment. For product development, fluid emission detection systems would enable more accurate and efficient lab and field evaluation of absorbent products. This paper describes the development of a textile-based fluid-detection sensing method that uses a multi-layer "keypad matrix" sensing paradigm using stitched conductive threads. Bench characterization tests determined the effects of sensor spacing, spacer fabric property, and contact pressures on wetness detection for a 5mL minimum benchmark fluid volume. The sensing method and bench-determined requirements were then applied in a close-fitting torso garment for babies that fastens at the crotch (onesie) that is able to detect diaper leakage events. Mannequin testing of the resulting garment confirmed the ability of using wetness sensing timing to infer location of induced 5 mL leaks.