Diapers that analyze urine could reduce UTIs among people with dementia
March 9, 2014
Pixie Scientific founders Yaroslav Faybishenko and Jennie Rubinshteyn got their initial idea after a car trip with their infant daughters. Rubinshteyn was worried about diaper rash after a long car ride. That’s when Fabishenko realized that the diapers were full of information about the babies’ health.
“The parent can do the scan while changing the baby,” Rubinshteyn said. “The data gets analyzed and there is an alert sent if there is a problem.”
The sensor tracks nutrition, hydration and can identfy Type 1 diabetes. Collecting the information requires only one sensor diaper per day.
Rubinshteyn said the market potential for the Pixie briefs is $6 billion. She said that the initial market is the 5 million people with dementia who are incontinent and have chronic urinary tract infections. There are about 500,000 preterm babies who could benefit from this kind of tracking.
She said the company did focus groups with nursing home staff members and found out that each patient spends about $1,000 per year on diapers.
“They were willing to spend up 50% more on a better solution,” she said. “We are going to charge only 25% more.”
Right now nurses have to collect a sample from patients with dementia. They often smell the diaper to try to detect changes in the urine.
“Nursing homes see a real cost savings because dementia patients are always on antibiotics to prevent or cure these infections,” she said. “Also the symptoms of a UTI are often similar to symptoms of dementia, so it’s hard to tell.”
Nephrotic syndrome is usually diagnosed after age 4, but it starts while a child is still in diapers.
Rubinshteyn said the plan is to scale the agents to detect more things.
Rubinshteyn has an MBA from Wharton as well as degrees in economics and chemistry. She spent 10 years on Wall Street in trading and marketing. The rest of the team includes two 2 biomedical engineers, a physicst, chemist and computer programmer.
The company has raised money from angel investors and plans to start selling adult diapers in 2015.