Adult incontinence is one the last remaining health taboos in modern society. Yet it is a fact of life for over a third of all women who have recently had a baby. LifeSense aims to help women live life with full confidence. Its innovative Carin system aims to help women tackle involuntary urine loss.
Involuntary urine loss, or stress incontinence, occurs when pressure on the bladder is increased. This can happen when running, coughing, sneezing, jumping, lifting or laughing, making everyday life a worry for millions. With the right therapy, involuntary urine loss can be treated successfully and permanently. However, embarrassment stops many people from discussing the problem, even with their closest loved ones, so they remain unaware of the possibilities for lasting treatment. With Carin, LifeSense hopes to break this stigma.
The story of Carin’s development is one of two disparate strands coming together, connected by the mission to help 400 million people worldwide.
In 2014, social designer Julia Veldhuijzen van Zanten accomplished her Masters at Design Academy Eindhoven focusing on how designers can tackle the stigma of daily aids. This led to her creating the super-absorbent and comfortable underwear now used in LifeSense’s Carin Protect, for which she won the 2014 new material award.
Meanwhile, a team led by Valer Pop at Holst Centre was exploring ways in which wearable sensor technology could help people living with involuntary urine loss. A chance comment by a mutual acquaintance put the two in touch and the first seeds of LifeSense and Carin were sown.
During the development, LifeSense worked hard together with a multidisciplinary team to gather feedback from potential Carin users. In the process over 100 women were involved in testing and reviewing various iterations of the Carin range, with their opinions guiding developments such as the size and shape of the sensor unit as well as the location for wearing it. Guided by the women who participated in our development process, we’ve created something so small that you almost forget you are wearing it.
In bringing Carin to market, LifeSense has drawn on the skills of a range of local partners. The mobile sensor unit is manufactured by Matas Electronics, while part of the training program and app are developed in conjunction with Lifestyle Interactive and Zinc Group. Developmental input was also provided by Dr. Bary Berghmans of the Pelvic Care Center at the Maastricht University Medical Center, where the first clinical trials of Carin are currently in progress. In addition, the Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (Brabant Development Agency) provides LifeSense with business development support.