2015.03.01 dowel app 3 copy

After inventing the printing press, mastering the power of flight, and connecting the world through the power of the Internet, it’s inspiring to know there is still more human ingenuity out there innovating and giving us life-changing products like a USB-powered rice ball warmer. But our species is a bright bunch and we continue to find new ways to harness technology, like a Japanese startup that has announced a new wearable device that predicts bowel movements and gives the user a 10-minute heads-up before needing to find a toilet.

It may not be as trendy of a wearable as the upcoming Apple Watch, but it could be a life-changing device for people who suffer from incontinence or those working in the nursing home industry.

Triple W, a Japanese startup based in California, recently pitched the D Free device at a venture capital event. The wearable was presented as a way to help out anyone who has less-than-predictable bowels as a way to give them ample time to find a toilet. D Free could be particularly useful for people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility, giving them ample time to make it to the bathroom. Especially for assisted living facilities or nursing homes, the device could be a game changer, making it easier on attendants who have a heads-up about when to help their patients to avoid an accident.

▼ Atsuhi Nakanishi, from Triple W, holding the D Free while he pitches the idea to venture capitalists

2015.03.01 dowel app 4Image: Facebook (Morning Pitch)

To use D Free, you attach the device to your stomach and connect it to an app on your smartphone. The sensors in the device then detect any movement or swelling in your intestines and sends a notification to your smartphone that in about 10 minutes, it’s going to best if you’re near a toilet. The app then records your bowel movements throughout the day to learn your daily habits and give you more accurate notifications in the future.

▼ Although she may have questionable taste in jeans, this woman will always have a 10 minute warning to find a proper place to poop.

2015.03.01 dowel app 2 copyImage: YouTube (mieko sadomin)

▼ A 10-minute head start to find a nearby (and hopefully not confusing) toilet

2015.03.01 dowel app 1 copyImage: YouTube (mieko sadomin)

▼ D Free will be keeping track of your bathroom visits, so you probably don’t want to connect this app to any social media.

2015.03.01 dowel app 5 copyImage: YouTube (mieko sadomin)

Triple W says that they are planning to bring the device to crowdfunding sites, such as Indiegogo, in May and hopefully be able to ship it to customers in the U.S. and Japan by December. Right now, they are envisioning about a $200 price tag, but hope that it could be brought down to as low as $50 when it comes to market.

Japanese netizens thought the idea was pretty cool and many wondered if the device could be used on kids to give parents a break from the “joys” of traveling with a child. Others thought the device would be a prefect addition to Japan’s quest to have robots take care of the rapidly aging population.

“Imagine the panic if 3 or 4 of these alarms went off on a plane with just one bathroom…”

“Could they make something like this to detect when a baby is about to cry?”

“Now I’m depressed thinking about getting old and not being able to control my bowels.”

What do you think of the D Free? Check out the video below from the makers and let us know what you think! Could this be a game changer for the elderly care industry?

Video: YouTube (mieko sadomin)

Source: Shuukan Ascii via Itai News
Feature Image: YouTube (mieko sadomin)

[ Read in Japanese ]