Clinical Developments

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Revolutionary Sensor for Detecting Faecal Incontinence

March 2021

Revolutionary Sensor for Detecting Faecal Incontinence

Oxford Optronix Ltd is delighted to have received a UK government grant from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to help fund the development of the world’s first device for reliably detecting and reporting adult faecal incontinence.

Commenting on the award, Dr Andy Obeid, CEO of Oxford Optronix said, ‘Faecal Incontinence occurs when someone is unable to perform normal toileting behaviour; it is a devastating social and hygiene problem that affects 2-3% of all adults - particularly those living with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Faecal incontinence undermines dignity, damages skin, risks infection and is distressing for individuals, nurses, care-home staff and relatives alike.’

‘Oxford Optronix has developed a unique (and recently patented) technology that can reliably detect when a person has passed a stool in an incontinence pad. It uses an optical sensor to detect small quantities of fluorescent light produced by the bacteria present in faeces. The device distinguishes faeces from urine. The sensing technology can be easily inserted or woven into the manufacture of a standard incontinence pad which is then simply connected to a thin, lightweight, wallet-sized, re-chargeable wearable monitor. When a patient passes stool, the device promptly alerts a nursing station or caregiver’s mobile phone.’

Working with patients directly affected by Faecal Incontinence, their families and other stakeholders including nurses, care home staff and managers, our multi-disciplinary research team will use the NIHR funding to:

  • Refine our existing prototype sensor such that it can be readily integrated into a standard, disposable incontinence pad during manufacture.
  • Develop a thin, wallet-sized, flexible and re-usable wearable monitor with wireless connectivity to a mobile phone or centralised 'nursing base station'.

Andy went on to say,

‘Our proposition is simple; changing soiled pads 'on demand' will radically transform the dignity and care of individuals suffering faecal incontinence.’