‘D Free’ bowel movement notifier from Japan secures funding; launches crowdfunding campaign



See the original story in Japanese.

Triple W Japan, the startup behind a wearable device that predicts the timing of bowel movements, announced on Friday that it has fundraised an undisclosed sum from Nissay Capital and iStyle Capital. Nissay Capital is the investment arm of a Japan’s leading insurance company while iStyle Capital is that of the company behind Japan’s largest online cosmetics review site.

The device, D Free, is derived from the phrase ‘diaper free.’ Using ultrasonic waves it estimates how much time a person has until the feces will stimulate the sacral bone, which triggers the urge to defecate. In this way, users will not have to rush to the bathroom, and it will free them from worries about the risk of incontinence. It will help non-handicapped persons, as well as Parkinson’s sufferers, the physically challenged, and the elderly, who might be have to wear a diaper regain their dignity.

Triple W Japan CEO Atsushi Nakanishi started developing D Free because he realized that the state of feces and the bowel condition can be monitored from outside the body using the same technology that fetal ultrasound scans use.

The D Free device monitors the speed of feces growing and estimates the time to defecation. When using the device for the first time, users will be requested to enter their BMI (body mass index) via the app for grabbing their skinfold thickness, while the device will learn personal equation more precisely as users keep using it longer. Towards the start of shipping in April 2016, the team will improve the prediction algorithm, mountability, and wearing touch so please remind that some technical specifications are subject to change.


In addition, the Triple W Japan team launched a funding campaign on Japanese crowdfunding site Ready for D Free. The project raised over 10% of its initial goal of 12 million yen ($100,000) on the first day of the 90-day the crowdfunding campaign.

Nakanishi elaborated:

Many people want to monitor how much food or liquids they have consumed using various devices or apps but not for how much they have excreted. To stay healthy requires managing what to eat, how much to exercise, and mental balance.

By matching data of how much they have eaten and that of how much they have excreted, the context coming out of that will advise them to take some rest or drink some water when needed to improve their condition.

In addition, colorectal cancer is the leading cause of women’s death. I think the app can help prevent the disease as well as allow insurance companies to collect precise data in order to measure the risk of the disease, improving the fair value of their insurance contracts.

Triple W Japan is a 20-person team including four core members, designers, and clinical testers. Based in Japan and the US, they have a good reputation globally and were covered by foreign news media.

A survey reports that 48% of Japanese women are suffering from constipation. We sometimes read news articles saying that train drivers and conductors cannot seem to go to the bathroom when they are on duty but have a sudden bowel movement. Since science is well developed today, it’s probably we can expect science to help solving these bowel issues. Other interesting ideas include integrating the device with a public toilet finder app or AirPnP.

The team won the Tokyo preliminary for the Pioneers Festival conference last month, and they will appear at Pioneers’ pitch competition finals in May in Vienna, Austria.

Edited by Kurt Hanson