PROTECHDRY SMART – Development of smart underwear for incontinence
The project ProtechDry Smart (Project NSRF nº30324 / 2013), sponsored by Impetus (Portugal), was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) through the National Strategic Reference Framework (QREN).
It is estimated that nearly 200 million people suffer from urinary incontinence worldwide, and 15-30% of these are more than 60 years old. According to the Portuguese Urological Association:
– Women are twice more likely to suffer from incontinence than men;
– Elderly are the most affected group resulting that 90% of the incontinent people live in retirement and nursing homes;
– It is known that around 10 % of children in Europe has nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting at night) affecting also 1% of youth over 16;
– In Portugal, incontinence affects around 600,000 people between 45 and 65 years, in a proportion of 3 women for 1 man suffering from incontinence.
Protechdry product from Impetus is already in the market (www.protechdry.com) which was assumed, at the time of its release, as a real breakthrough in the reusable solutions for mild male and female incontinence.
This project of research and development, led by Impetus, in collaboration with Fibrenamics Platform of the University of Minho, is an evolution of the previous project ProtechDry http://www.protechdry.com/en/1–protechdry-/1-technology-/ and its main objective was the development of reusable and intelligent underwear for incontinent with moderate loss of urine.
The developed underwear is intended both for men and for women, and in addition to being a perfectly conventional piece, i.e., reusable, eliminate odors and keep the skin dry, also presents innovative features:
– Duplicated absorption capacity, maintaining its functionality and safety;
– Possess a detection and warning system of urine leakage;
– Possibility to use in aquatic environments.
This process aimed to:
– Increase the capacity of absorption of this reusable prototype and also increase the sense of dryness while improving the odor neutralizing performance;
– Creation of prototypes for beach environments with an appealing and safe design;
– Creation of an alarm system to monitor the user’s urine losses and to alert the limits of its absorption capacity.
Results: A portfolio of prototypes in the area of urinary incontinence for different environments was created, focusing on the user safety and comfort.