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Wearable bladder sensor an award winner

Wearable bladder sensor an award winner

A spinal injury has inspired an enterprising Kiwi to create a wearable bladder sensor for people who have difficulties telling if they need to go to the bathroom.

Five years ago Mike Brown broke his back, leaving him with severe spinal injuries and bladder problems.

The product he and his team have since created, Uri-Go, has won Callaghan Innovation’s 2017 C-Prize technology competition, earning the team support worth $100,000 to develop and market their product.

It’s a wearable bladder sensor for people who have difficulties telling if they need to go to the bathroom. This can include those with a spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease or numerous other conditions.

“In my case, it can lead to embarrassment, but it also puts me at risk of contracting dangerous infections,” Mike Brown says.

“I just dreamed up this idea of a device I could wear that would tell me when my bladder was full. Essentially something that would notify my smartphone.”

Callaghan Innovation, the government’s business innovation agency, set up C-Prize to encourage people to push the boundaries of what’s possible through technology, and solve real-world challenges. This year’s competition focused on wearable technology to improve human performance and wellbeing.

When he found out about C-Prize, Brown brought together a friend with technical expertise and a urologist, formed Uri-Go and started building prototypes.

“The user testing we've done has been phenomenal. We've proven beyond a doubt that there is a strong need. It’s comforting to know that the market really wants this innovation.”

Brown says he’s “learned tremendously” from C-Prize and the connections he has made. “This competition is fantastic in its collaborative nature.”

Judging convenor Blythe Rees-Jones, an award-winning industrial designer, says Uri-Go’s product deserves to be an international success.

“It is a really great idea and a highly innovative hardware-software solution. The team has shown the talent to pull this off and generated impressive momentum in their program.”


Photo caption: Andrew Cragg, Brendan Hale and Mike Brown of Uri-Go, and Vic Crone, Chief Executive of Callaghan Innovation.