Researchers have developed a technology that can monitor bladder volume in real time and can effectively empty a person’s bladder. The breakthrough may open up a new treatment option for patients with underactive bladders in the near future.

The novel system comprises a sensor integrated with an actuator. The soft and thin sensor monitors the bladder volume continuously while the actuator is equipped with strong emptying force to clear the bladder. The actuator contains a shape memory alloy (SMA) spring, which keeps the sensor in contact with the surface of the bladder at all times for precise volume detection.

Experiments by the team showed that in addition to the real-time volume sensing capability, the device can also effectively empty between 70 and 100 percent of the bladder. The bladder system can be adjusted to the user’s bladder size to ensure optimal operation. The ideal scenario would be to integrate the device with a mobile application, which could retrieve and process the sensor data to allow the user to trigger voiding at will.

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