The most popular ways parents determine if their baby’s diapers should be changed are obviously the baby’s cries and physical examination with the eyes, nose or hands. But these may soon become unpopular with the introduction of smart diapers by Pampers, a part of Procter & Gamble Co.
Known as Lumi by Pampers, the smart diaper is a baby monitoring system that alerts parents via a smartphone app if a Pampers diaper needs changing. The system will track a child’s urine, sleep, room temperature, and humidity. The app will enable parents to keep an eye on a baby via a Logitech video camera installed in a nursery.
The system includes two activity sensors and a video monitor. The sensor, which is attached to a Lumi app, alerts parents via the app notification when a diaper is wet. The Lumi app, which can be used with a Google Android smartphone or an Apple iPhone will display one of three diaper statuses: dry, wet, very wet. It also records information on the baby’s sleep, wake, feeding and diapering times, as well as key milestones, so parents can determine patterns.
The battery in each activity sensor lasts three months, and parents will be alerted in the app when the battery is low and the sensor needs to be replaced. 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 four.
The user will have an account which contains vital information, such as, baby’s name, gender, date of birth and a 24-hour archive of video from the monitor, plus a profile photo if the parents choose to use one.
The concept is part of the Internet-of-Things movement, which allows consumers to track many of their daily or routine activities.
However, there are concerns that smart diapers could have security and privacy issues such as hacking of the monitors or unauthorized access to the information held by the app. It has also been noted that the system does not include two-factor authentication, something security experts consider key to preventing unauthorized access to systems.
But Mandy Treeby, a spokeswoman for Pampers has dispelled such fears. According to her, once set up, only Lumi by Pampers account holders with their valid credentials will be able to access their baby’s data on the Lumi app,” as the Lumi system encrypts all data and uses the same standard of security as the financial services industry.
Though the Lumi by Pampers monitoring system may appear a good way of alleviating stress, parents may have to weigh the pros and the cons before making a decision on how much technology to use in raising children in this highly connected world. Any data-collecting device or mechanism comes with many risks which must be studied and understood before embracing it. Users of this system will also have to deal with the issue of dependence on software updates and malfunctions and even the possibility of the product losing its connectivity when the line of business is discontinued.
Procter & Gamble claims the Lumi by Pampers monitoring system is the world’s first all-in-one connected care system, but it is not the first to go into high-tech diapers. In 2016, Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent organisation, filed a patent for “a diaper sensor for detecting and differentiating faeces and urine.” Last year, Huggies partnered with Monit, a Korean company that uses IT technology to create smart parenting solutions, to launch a smart diaper sensor in Korea and Japan.