Talking urinary alarm - REMAP - Custom made equipment for disabled people
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Talking urinary alarm

  • P.Allchin
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Please can anyone help with the following request from our Merseyside panel who do not the expertise required in this case.

The client is a boy,  aged 13 who has a urinary problem which until recently has been controlled using a wet sensor fitted in his trousers which sounds an alarm when he needs to urinate. As he wears this in school he now finds this embarrassing each time the  alarm sounds and he then, due to a speech difficulty, has to put his hand up to indicate he needs to go. His mother, now living in our area, originally dealt with the Leeds panel several years ago and they then fitted the alarm system which she thinks could now be modified to actually speak to request permission to go to the toilet . Could you please progress this through Leeds and all other panels to see if there is a solution. The mother has given me her telephone no which is available from Central Office and if someone can offer assistance they should contact her direct for a better understanding of the current situation and her requirements. I would appreciate it if you would keep me informed of any developments.

Tony Fennell, Merseyside





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8 responses to “Talking urinary alarm”

  1. jocu64 says:

    I agree with the suggestion of a silent wireless alarm rather than an audible one (to save any embarrassment all round) and would suggest an arm band with a vibrating device which could be passed to each teacher at the beginning of a lesson as the boy moved from class to class and returned to him after the lesson. All his teachers would obviously have to be be made aware of his medical needs but if new teachers were encountered the lad could also carry a card to give to anyone who needed an explanation of the situation and how the system worked.

  2. gary smith says:

    Has anyone taken this one as my specialisation is electronics. So the hardware is simplicity for me.

    What I would want to nail down is dealing with the embarrassment factor and that depends on the child themselves a little.

    I like to kill embarrassment / derision with humour and wonder if a random number of comedic sound files that achieve the required objective which is one to overcome the delay caused by having to wait for the teacher to notice his hand in the air. Having been a secondary school teacher the SENCO should have made all staff aware of the problem so the minor disruption of the child jumping to their feet and leaving the room whilst perhaps a comedy voice makes their excuses seems one way to handle the problem.

    I have a sound studio and could do a few sample tracks if this would be a help. The child get an idea of what im suggesting.

    Technically I would suggest a simple belt pack with direct connection to the sensor via a simple plug with an onboard detection that triggers an MP3 Player and delivers the sound through a small speaker .

  3. Graham Stabler says:

    Here is a simple MP3 player module that can connect directly to a speaker and be triggered by a microcontroller such as an Arduino.

    If you don’t have suitable expertise in the panel then try to find your local hackspace, this is a very simple thing to implement. I’m not sure why it would be less embarrassing though. Alternatively buy a cheap voice memo unit and trigger he play button with a small relay.


  4. Malcolm Logan says:

    I would recommend a wireless alarm triggered by the moisture sensor.
    This would be linked to a silent alarm consisting of a led/vibration warning device placed near the teacher.
    This would remove any embarrassment being caused to the young man.

  5. Ian Midgley says:

    Probably doesn’t even need much development Geoff (bearing in mind the local panel has flagged this due to lack of required skills).

    There are cordless battery operated doorbells with volume controls and flashing indicators (for the hard of hearing). The cost is now so low, it would probably be cheaper than buying components to make something anyway. Unit could sit on the teacher’s desk, and all the wet sensor has to do is bridge the contacts in the little transmitter (or the boy could just press the button himself – if he is aware from a discrete reminder of the type I suggested).

    Taking the idea a step further, there are doorbell units which have a built in MP3 player, so it becomes feasible to load a message rather than a tune. If the spoken request was essential, that is probably the way I would do it. You can even get an off-the-shelf infra red fob transmitter and simple relay board for around a fiver – so it becomes feasible to combine that with the voice recording module I mentioned.

    Of course, all this is fine until the teacher moves from desk to talk to another pupil, or the unit is forgotten about at lesson end. Though I’m sure I have seen cordless doorbells that operate a small belt-attached device a teacher could carry.

  6. Geoff Hammond says:

    How about a wireless transmitter attached to the wet sensor which activates a silent alarm (eg flashing light) on the teacher’s desk. Both transmitter and alarm could be battery powered and the alarm could be carried from one room to another. I haven’t looked into the details, but I will do if you are interested. My guess is that Arduino are bound to do something suitable

  7. Ian Midgley says:

    The first question in my mind is what the school policy is for toilet breaks. These can be very disruptive and I can see why schools/teachers would wish to exercise some control and discipline. Sometimes, that policy is not to permit unless there are multiple requests anyway. But if a child has a health problem, the school needs to have a policy that accommodates it, no matter who is teaching them, and where in the school they are being taught. That is the SCHOOL’S problem to sort out, not the boy’s or his parents in my opinion.

    Usually, this is dealt with by kids with medical problems being issued some sort of card/pass. I see no reason why a child in such a position cannot just be permitted to leave quietly without needing to ask, and not disrupting the rest of the class either.

    That way, the Remap solution can be modified to be more discrete for the boy’s benefit only – for example, by operating a mobile phone vibration motor as I did for a discrete reminder project some months back.

    I don’t think the “requesting permission” idea flies for the above reasons – but we might as well explore it as its not as difficult as it might appear. This project uses a sound recording module I bought from Rapidonline, ready assembled with speaker, record/play buttons, microphone, battery holder etc. Similar modules are available for less on ebay but tend to be for smaller applications like novelty greetings cards.

    One niggle with these modules though is they need to be powered up (or left powered up) BEFORE the play button is pressed. In my case, I needed the message to play automatically when power was applied, and just leaving the play switch wires shorted out doesn’t have the required effect. So, I used a reed relay powered by the supply in place of the play button to just give a fraction of a second delay.

    This device and speaker probably wouldn’t be loud enough in a busy classroom (though could be amplified).

  8. Ashley Slater says:

    Hi I can see a solution if he stays in one classroom but more difficult if the room changes at each lesson change.

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