US 3530855 A
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United States Patent  Inventor George H. Balding 75 Sevilla Drive, Los Altos, California 94022 [211 App]. No. 735,318  Filed June 7, 1968  Patented Sept. 29, 1970  ENURETIC CONTROL DEVlCE 11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 128/138, 128/418, 128/132, ZOO/61.05, 340/235  Int. Cl A6lb 19/00  Field ofSearch 128/1381, 132, 404, 1.3, 418, 419, 417,172.1, 365; ZOO/61.05
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,668,202 2/ 1954 Kaplan ZOO/61.05 2,842,135 7/1958 Browner 128/422 Primary ExaminerAdele M. Eager ABSTRACT: A portable, light weight device for use in treating nocturnal enuresis in which sensor means worn by the user comprise a first and a second clip electrode adapted to be fastened to opposite sides of the users undergarment. The clips are fastened in circuit with a transistorized oscillator and with occurrence of moisture, a low resistance path is completed to energize the oscillator which, via an amplifier, drives a miniature speaker at 800 cycles, the entire circuit being powered by a low voltage d.c. battery and being contained in a miniature package worn on the wrist of the patient.
Patented Sept. 29, 197C MOISTURE SENSOR AMPLIFIER a ALARM 9 POWER SUPPLY IO OSCLLATOR 7' INVENTOR GEORGE H. -BAL DING v ENURETIC CONTROL DEVICE FIELD OF THE INVENTION Device for use in treating chronic nocturnal enuresis by stimulation conditioning. of patient.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Treatment of chronic nocturnal enuresis poses a vexing problem, and even prolonged programs employing the conventional therapeutic methods are frequently fruitless. The extentof the problem, especially in pediatrics, is attested to by estimates of up to 16 percent incidence in the child population. While the frequency of the problem is smaller in the higher age groups, the enuresis is more pronounced and often has a more profound effect on a person's social adjustment.
A few cases of enuresis, variously estimated at from 3 to percent of the total, arise from definite anatomic or physiological anomalies for which specific surgical or medical procedures are indicated. The majority of cases, however, appear in children who simply have never been able to respond to the stimulation of a full bladder by awakening. After the age of 3 to 3% years, when the child becomes a deep sleeper, selftraining becomes even more difficult.
Considerable success has been reported in controlling this type of enuresis by conditioning the patient to awaken in response to bladder tension rather than yielding to the urge to urinate. This response can be established by an alarm system, which awakens the patient immediately each time micturition begins. Once this response pattern has been established the patient tends to sleepfor increasingly longer periods before awakening, and eventually sleeps through the entire night.
Variousdevices which seek to effect such manner of training have been tried heretofore with some success. One of the better known devices comprises a moisture-sensitive bed pad which controls a relay to energize an electric alarm system powered from an electrical outlet whenever micturition begins. This system, although producing the proper response by the patient, restricts the patient to sleeping in a bed equipped with the device. Further, if the patient rolls off the pad during sleep the unit will not be effective for its intended purpose. In addition, this system makes it almost mandatory customed to carrying heavy loads.
' It is therefore a first and principal object of the present invention to provide a novel means for detecting moisture due to urination which is reliable, mobile, light weight and operable in any position of the wearer. It is another object of the invention to provide a device having a light weight, small moisture sensor which may be connected directly to the clothing of the patient, so that the patieht may wear normal bed clothing without being encumbered by special pads and heavy articles which tend to inhibit freedom of movement of the patient, and an associated control curcuit and alarm controlled by the sensor means contained'in a housing which may be worn on the wrist of the patientlike a wristwatch.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an nuretic control device of such type which is powered only by a small DC battery to thereby eliminate the problems and changes inherent in the use of AC electrical relays, and which issufficiently efficient to be on continuously with little or no power loss from the battery, whereby a long battery life and low cost operation will be experienced.
.It is still another object of the invention to provide an enuretic control device of the character described which is of a simple and sturdy construction, capable of highly efficient and effective operation, and comprised of all solid state transistorized circuitry to provideminimum size and space requirements.
The following objects and features of the invention and others which are believed to be new and novel in the art, are set forth in the following specification, claims and drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a drawing showing one method of attachment of themoisture detector system to the patient;
FIG. 2 is a detailed circuit diagram of one embodiment of the novel circuit; and
FIGS. 3A-3B are detailed drawings of moisture sensor fasteners which may be used as sensor devices.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION In one preferred embodiment of the device shown in FIG. 1, there is provided a sensor element 1 which, as will be shown, comprises a first and a second clip or snap fastener 2, 3 (which are the electrodes for the system) for positioning on either side of a garment G of the wearer and adapted to engage one another with a piece of the garment material held therebetween. A pair of small flexible wires 4, 5 extend respectively from the electrodes 2, 3 to a housing 6 which is fastened to the arm of the user by a suitable wrist band 6'.
The detection of moisture resulting from micturition is accomplished in response to wetting of the garment material located between the two electrodes 2, 3. When moisture is present, the garment G absorbs the moisture and establishes a low resistance electrical path between the two electrodes 2, 3. The resultant electrical current over such path is fed via conductors 4, 5 to housing 6. A miniature solid state oscillator circuit contained in housing 6 through an associated amplifier circuit drives a miniature speaker in the housing 6 at approximately 800 cycles to signal the presence of moisture. A suitable metering system may be used in lieu of the alarm device in applications in which such information is desired. Power for the unit comprises a 9 volt direct current battery which is also located in the housing 6. While the illustration shows the unit connected to the arm of the patient, it will be apparent that for young children, the wrist band may be fastened to the leg of the patient, the mattress or to the side of the crib, if desired.
DESCRIPTION OF BASIC CIRCUITS In a preferred circuit embodiment shown in FIG. 1, clips or electrodes 2 and 3 are clipped to opposite sides of the garment G worn by the patient. While the electrodes 2 and 3 "of moisture sensor 1 may obviously be of various shapes and configurations, one particularly successful embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A, 33 comprises battery clips, model 5F-5M which are commercially available from Cinch-Jones, Chicago, Illinois. Other fasteners, such as clothing snap fasteners, garter fasteners and the like which will hold a piece of moisture-absorbing material therebetween, may be used for such purpose.
With reference to FIG. 2, the device includes the pair of electrodes 2, 3 which are connected over conductors 4, 5 to oscillator 7. As shown, oscillator 7 may comprise a transistor 17, commercially available as a 2N2925 having a collector 16, base 15 and emitter 18. Collector 16 of transistor 17 is coupled over the primary winding 26 of coupling transformer 28 to the positive terminal of a 9 volt direct current battery source 11 which may be of the type commercially available from Eveready, New York, New York, Model 216, and is also coupled over phase shift capacitors 22, 24 to the negative side of the power source 11. The junction of phase shift capacitors 22 and 24 is connected to emitter 18 and over emitter resistor 20 to ground. The input signal from moisture sensor 1 is connected from the positive terminal of battery 11, conductor 4, clips 2, 3 and conductor 5 and resistors 13 and 14 to ground. The junction of resistors l3, 14 is connected to the base 15 of transistor 17.
With a dry garment, the high resistance of the garment between moisture sensor clips 2 and 3 prevents current flow thereover to resistor 13 and the base 15 of transistor 17. In this mode of operation, oscillator circuit 7 is inoperative. When moisture occurs, the resistance of the garment between contacts 2 and 3 is lowered to make base 15 of transistor 17 positive causing transistor 17 to be placed in the linear operating area of its characteristic curve. With base positive, transistor 17 conducts causing collector 16 to provide a negative going signal. The resultant negative going signal is conducted over phase shift circuit capacitors 22, 24 and resistor to the emitter 18 further driving transistor 17 into conduction. When transistor 17 reaches full conduction, the action is reversed in the conventional oscillator circuit operating mode. Oscillation continues in this manner as long as positive current is provided over resistor 13 to base 15 by the moisture sensor 1.
The output signals of oscillator circuit 7 are coupled over primary winding 26 of coupling transformer 28 and over secondary windings 30 to the output amplifier circuit 8. The amplifier circuit 8 comprises transistor 33 which may be of the type commercially available as a 2N2925 having collector 36, base 32, and emitter 34. Collector 36 is coupled over the primary winding 38 of the output transformer 40 to the positive terminal of the 9 volt battery supply 11. Base 32 is coupled over the secondary winding 30 of transformer 28 to ground, and emitter 34 is coupled directly to ground.
Amplifier circuit 8 operates in a conventional manner to provide power gain for the incoming signal from oscillator circuit 7 and to effect impedance matching from the output of oscillator circuit 7 to the speaker 45. The amplified signal output from circuit is coupled over primary and secondary windings 38, 42 of output transformer to a permanent magnet speaker 45 in alarm circuit 9 for conversion to an audible tone at 800 cycles. Such frequency is particularly useful in that the signal is more readily heard at greater distances and is readily reproduced in an efficient manner by the miniature speaker.
As noted above, the power supply 10 may comprise a 9 volt direct current battery 11, and a filter capacitor 12 connected across battery 11 to regulate the battery voltage and thereby provide an increased signal output. The low voltage source 10 provides safety from electrical shock to the patient using the device, and additionally, because of its small size and weight, results in a portable type unit which solves the patients mobility problem. The circuits supplied by the power supply 10 are connected to conduct no current in the absence of moisture so that there is no power drain from the battery when normal conditions prevail. As a result battery 11 will have an increased life span. Additionally, since there is no drain under normal conditions there is no need for an off-on switch.
A detailed illustration of one set of electrode fasteners used in the moisture sensor 1 is shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. As there shown, one snap fastener 2 and a second snap fastener 3 are positioned on either side of the garment G and pressed together to clamp a portion of the garment material therebetween. As shown in FIG. 38, when the fastener 2 is pressed into engagement with fastener 3, the spring force of fastener 2 in its engagement with the indentation of fastener 3 will cause the two clips to be held in fixed relation with oneanother while yet being electrically separated by the clothing G located therebelow. As noted above, a very small amount of moisture coming between clips 2 and 3 establishes a low resistance path which causes a signal to be sent over connecting wires 4 and 5 to oscillator circuit 7 therefore warning or awakening the patient as required.
While one form of electrode has been shown, it will be apparent that other types may also be employed. A garment, for example, may have built-in pockets adapted to receive slender metal electrodes or discs on either side of the garment which may be readily inserted into and removed from the garment pocket. It is also possible to provide a sensor comprised of a piece of cloth held between a pair of electrodes and suitable clip means for attaching the sensor to the garment of the user;
however, the sensor should be capable of being disassembled readily so that the cloth may be removed for washing or replacement to avoid the problem of retained odors.
While the housing 6 is shown as carried on the wrist of the user in FIG. I, it will be apparent that a waist band may also be used for the purpose. As a further alternative the housing may be clipped or pinned to the waist band of a garment worn by the user. Other variations of the invention will become apparent from the foregoing examples.
If further size reduction of the housing is desired, integrated circuits may be employed for the signal generator circuit. A vibrating reed may be used in lieu of the speaker to obtain yet a further size reduction in the housing size. If desired, the speaker stage may be replaced by a transmitter stage, in which event a separate receiver tuned to the transmitter frequency may be used to actuate an associated audio alarm. In addition to reducing the size of the unit worn on the wrist, several separate receiver alarms may be located in different rooms in the house whereby both the parent and the child will be awakened. Since the receiver portion of the system would not be carried by the user, a larger alarm device may be used, and
an alarm signal of correspondingly increased strength may be There has been set forth hereinbefore, a novel enuretic control device which is operative to provide an audible tone for facilitating the treatment and/or control of enuresis. In one specific embodiment disclosed herein, the arrangement is utilized to provide complete portable operation and no discomfort to the patient.
While such arrangement has particular utility in the treatment of enuresis, it will be apparent to parties skilled in the art that similar advantages attain in the use of the equipment in numerous other applications requiring small, light weight detection of moisture.
While what is described is regarded as the preferred embodiment of the invention, nevertheless it will be understood that such illustration is merely exemplary and that numerous modifications may be made therein without departing from the essence of the invention.
1. In a system for use in management of nocturnal enuresis which is energizable from a source of potential comprising moisture sensor means for providing a signal indicating the presence of moisture, said moisture sensor means including a first and a second electrode portable with the body of the user and separated by a moisture absorbing material located adjacent to the area to be sensed on the user body, and input enabling signal to said alarm means, and means connecting the signal output from said second electrode of said moisture sensor means to said signal generator means to enable same in response to establishment of a low resistance path by moisture on the material located between said first and second electrode carried by the user. I
2. system as set forth in claim 1 in which said signal generator means and said alarm means are located in a suitable housing, and which includes means for supporting said housing on the wrist of the user. t
3. A system as set forth in claim 1 in which said electrodes are adapted to be releasably fastened to one another with said moisture absorbing material therebetween, and which are readily disengaged from said fastened relation with one another and said material to permit substitution of another material.
4. In a system as set forth in claim 1 in which said signal generator means comprises a semiconductor, and circuit means connecting said semiconductor to oscillate in response to receipt of a signal from said monitor sensor means.
5 In a system as set forth in claim 1 in which said alarm means comprises aminiature speaker, and said signal generator means provides an output signal of approximately 800 cycles to said alarm means.
6. A system as set forth in claim 1 in which said alarm means and said signal generator means are supported in a separate housing, and which includes band means for use in attaching said housing to the body of the user.
7. In a system as set forth in claim 1 which includes a low voltage battery source, and in which said signal connected to said one electrode comprises means connecting the one terminal of said battery source to said electrode, and in which the second terminal of said battery source provides the common connection for the system.
8. A system as set forth in claim 1 in which said alarm means comprises a transmitter portable with the patient, audio alarm means, and receiver means for enabling said audio alarm in response to signals from said transmitter.
9. In a system for use in management of enuresis comprising sensor means for detecting moisture comprising a first and a second electrode for positioning on either side of a garment worn by the user comprising a first and second clip having at least portions thereof positioned and held in superposed relation with one another with a part of the user's garment located to establish a high resistance path therebetween, means for connecting a low voltage signal from a source to one of said electrodes, alarm means for providing an alarm signal, signal generator means for generating an enabling signal for said alarm means, and means for connecting said second clip to said signal generator means, said garment material between said first and second clip establishing a low resistance path between said electrodes in response to the presence of moisture on said material.
10. In a system for use in management of enuresis comprising sensor means for detecting moisture comprising a firstand a second electrode for positioning on either side of a garment worn by the user comprising a first and second clip having means for releasably engaging one another with a part of the users garment located therebetween, means for connecting a signal from a low voltage source to one of said electrodes, alarm means for providing an alarm signal, signal generator means comprising an oscillator circuit for generating an enabling signal for said alarm means, and means for connecting said second clip to said signal generator means, said garment material between said first and second clips establishing a low resistance path between said electrodes in response to the presence of moisture on said material and the conduction of an enabling signal to said oscillator circuit, and being effective in the absence of moisture to isolate said signal from said oscillator circuit, and output means including an amplifier cir cuit for connecting the output of said oscillator circuit to said alarm means.
11. A system as set forth in claim 9 which includes a portable housing for said low voltage source, said signal generator means and said alarm means.