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In the elderly, unnoticed incontinency often leads to social problems and isolation. A new invention may help. A small cooling system locally generates the feeling of wetness when fluid concentration exceeds a certain threshold.
Humans have no sensors in the skin to detect clamminess or humidity. Instead, they interpret that skin is wet when fluid evaporates from the skin. A child that has wet their bed often does not realize this until the sheets have been removed. Thus, it is the activation of the cold receptors in the skin than allow us to estimate the clamminess of the skin. We patented the cooling curve that generates the feeling of clamminess.
The sensor may be developed into a product integrated into garments, diapers or incontinence products. Initial cost estimates show that the sensor will not substantially increase the cost price of the product.
When the skin is wet, the conductivity at the skin reduces due to the electrolytes in the water. The change is detected by a simple sensor. The sensor is connected to a processing unit that activates a Peltier element. This Peltier element generates the cooling curve. The cooling curve starts at skin temperature. A research project has shown that the system works. Blindfolded subjects were sometimes unable to tell the difference between wet skin and cooled skin using Peltier elements with the patented curve.