Parents and aged care workers have for years been promised “smart diapers” that send a text message when they need to be changed.

Electronic wetness-sensing nappies still aren’t on supermarket shelves – but ASX-listed Simavita is hoping to change that.

Until recently, Simavita (ASX:SVA) focused mainly on an electronic incontinence assessment product, ASSESSPLUS, aimed at aged care workers in nursery homes.

“When people are admitted to an aged care facility, they’re required to have an incontinence assessment,” Simavita’s chief commercial officer Peta Jurd told Stockhead.

“The challenge with paper-based systems is they are inaccurate and it’s invasive to check their incontinence pad every two hours. With our assessment product, a sensor strip embedded in the diaper can record wetness events every four seconds.”

Now Simavita is talking to manufacturers about a new low-cost wireless system, ALERTPLUS, designed for “everyday use in adult and infant diapers”.

“The sensor is printed onto the diaper material,” said Ms Jurd.

“That then sends an alert to a smartphone via Bluetooth, so you get an indication of the time to change the diaper.”

Pivoting from incontinence assessment to low-cost, electronic nappies hasn’t been easy.

Two weeks ago the ASX queried SimaVita’s expected $1.8 million expenditure this quarter, noting it had only a little over $2 million in the bank.

Simavita responded that it would continue with negative operating cashflows “for the time being”, but was exploring cash-raising opportunities.

There have been significant cuts to staff and operational costs in the US.

But there are signs of progress for the new product.

Simavita has won patents for ALERTPLUS in “all major markets” and has begun making small quantities and an app.

“The company has been on an evolutionary journey,” Ms Jurd said.

“Now we’re moving to an everyday product. We’re in discussion now with manufacturers of infant diapers. No one has commercialised (smart diapers) yet, though there are certainly some companies with plans.”

Meanwhile SimaVita will continue to market its incontinence assessment product.

“Most people don’t realise that 4.8 million Australians suffer from some level of urinary incontinence,” Ms Jurd said.

“Even if 50 per cent of those cases are severe, that’s over 2 million people.

“We know 200,000 people are living in aged care, so there is an awful lot of cases out there in the community.

“It is really quite distressing because you find people with severe undiagnosed conditions – because of embarrassment they don’t even tell close family.

“The biggest opportunity we have to make a difference with the existing assessment process is in disability cases.

“The first disabled person we assessed was a young girl of 25 and even though she had 24/7 care, no one had identified that she had significant dehydration issues.”

SimaVita’s shares have traded between 2c and 9c over the past 12 months.