Hydralert, a device which measures and reports a person’s hydration level in real time, will be released and trialled at the Mining Emergency Response Competition competition in Perth later this year.
Prototyped in 2014 through the MDPP, Hydralert was developed by occupational hygienist Ryan Wynch, who had witnessed the effects of heat stress on underground miners in far north Western Australia, and wanted to find a way to encourage individuals to better manage their hydration levels.
Recent research from Loughborough University in the UK showed that mild dehydration can result in physical and mental impairment equivalent to up to a 0.08% blood alcohol reading. So, particularly in high risk industries such as mining, dehydration is a big issue.
Hydralert is a small disc, approximately the size of a hockey puck, with an LED screen. The disc is placed at the bottom of a urinal with the screen mounted at the users’ approximate line of sight. As urine contacts the Hydralert smart disc, the individual’s hydration range is read and displayed on the screen instantaneously via Bluetooth communication.
“The MDPP was an excellent launching pad for this device,” says Mr Wynch.
“It enabled us to develop a prototype, and without MDPP support and engineering, we wouldn’t be where we are today”.
Trials of Hydralert were successfully completed recently at Rio Tinto and Goldfields sites in WA, which led to improvements in the accuracy and longevity of the device; a distributor in Perth has been appointed, and Hydralert is currently seeking additional investment partners to help create a strong launching pad for the device.
Mr Wynch reports receiving a lot of interest in the device, from a range of potential customers, including professional National Football League (NFL) clubs in the US.
“We’re proud to report that the product has been shortlisted for an award at the International Mining Hall of Fame; the winners will be announced early next year in Denver,” he says.
“But more than that, we’re looking forward to the device getting out there and being used.”