The child incident rate for button cell batteries has increased 6.7 fold over the last 10 years. The swallowed battery typically gets lodged in the oesophagus (as seen in the x-ray). In this location it reacts with body fluids completing a circuit which results in the production of hydroxide. The local build-up of this caustic chemical can cause tissue necrosis, serious throat damage, and death.
The key strategies to mitigate the risks associated with button battery ingestions include: deterring and early detection, time is critical and the symptoms are non-specific. The innovation describes a saliva soluble battery coating with an embittering compound to dissuade ingestion, and/or an emetic compound to trigger vomiting, which may expel the battery or at least alert the child's carer to the issue.
Jeongbin Ok is a lecturer in Industrial Design at Victoria University's School of Design. Originally trained as a chemical engineer, Jeongbin also gained a Masters in Industrial Design, following his strong belief that design is the crucial for using technology effectively and sustainably to solve real-world problems. With research interests ranging from 3D printing materials to health and safety ...