Ontex Group has filed a patent for a communication method involving a monitoring device attached to an absorbent article. The method includes checking attachment and measuring status information at regular intervals, and transmitting a trigger message to a back-end unit if there are changes in the measurement data or a specific time interval has passed. GlobalData’s report on Ontex Group gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Ontex Group, Incontinence monitoring sensors was a key innovation area identified from patents. Ontex Group's grant share as of September 2023 was 44%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Communication method for monitoring device attached to absorbent article

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Ontex Group NV

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230263672A1) describes a communication method for a monitoring device that can be attached to an absorbent article worn by an individual. The method involves checking the proper attachment of the monitoring device to the absorbent article and measuring the status information of the article and/or the wearer at regular intervals. If there is a change in the measurement data or a specific time interval has elapsed, a trigger message containing the latest measurement data is transmitted from the monitoring device to a back-end unit.

The trigger message mentioned in the patent is an unconfirmed uplink message, meaning it is sent from the monitoring device to the back-end unit without requiring an acknowledgement from the unit. The trigger message primarily contains non-critical information that does not require immediate action or feedback from the wearer or caregiver. The absorbent article mentioned in the patent is specifically referred to as a diaper, and the monitoring device is referred to as a diaper monitoring device.

The communication method also includes the option to repeat the trigger message a certain number of times, preferably between 1 and 10 times. The non-critical information in the trigger message can include voiding events, such as the presence or detection of urine or feces, bowel movements, and temperature changes.

In the case of multiple repetitions of the trigger message, there is a third time interval between each repetition. This third time interval is shorter than the initial time interval and typically ranges from 1 to 10 seconds.

The determination of the number of repetitions and the length of the third time interval is based on the risk of the trigger message not reaching the back-end unit and the overall network load of the network that includes the monitoring device and the back-end unit.

The communication method also includes the transmission of an event message, which contains the latest measurement data from the monitoring device to the back-end unit. This event message is a confirmed uplink message that requires an acknowledgement from the back-end unit. The event message can contain critical information related to the wearer, such as disconnection or detachment of the monitoring device, detection of a fall, lack of movement, skin irritation, low battery level, and more.

If the event message does not receive an acknowledgement after a certain number of retries, the message is stored in the monitoring device's memory and transmitted along with the next occurring message to the back-end unit.

The communication between the monitoring device and the back-end unit can utilize various technologies, including wide area networks, Bluetooth, wireless local area networks, Sigfox, LoRa, ZigBee, and narrowband Internet-of-things.

In summary, the patent describes a communication method for a monitoring device attached to an absorbent article, such as a diaper. The method involves transmitting trigger messages and event messages containing measurement data from the monitoring device to a back-end unit. The messages can be repeated and include non-critical or critical information, depending on the type of message. The communication can utilize different network technologies for transmission.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.