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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
LABEL AND TIMING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/213712
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A label is disclosed including a fixing portion to fix the label to an object and a timing device. The timing device includes a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period, a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period, a power source to supply power to the timer and the signalling apparatus, a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period, and a reset controller configured to permit operation of the reset device only if it determines that one or more conditions are met. In an additional or alternative arrangement, the reset controller is configured to permit operation of the reset device based on receipt of an external signal from an external source.

Inventors:
VERDICKT GARY MARTIN (AU)
MAY STUART RICHARD (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2019/050434
Publication Date:
November 14, 2019
Filing Date:
May 10, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SENVER HOLDINGS PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
G09F3/00; G04B47/00; G04F1/00; G07C1/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009058604A22009-05-07
Foreign References:
US20170076642A12017-03-16
US3352040A1967-11-14
US4630384A1986-12-23
US5802015A1998-09-01
EP1181626B12008-01-16
US20170032438A12017-02-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FB RICE PTY LTD (AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A label comprising:

a fixing portion to fix the label to an object; and

a timing device comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period;

a power source to supply power to the timer and the signalling apparatus;

a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period; and a reset controller configured to permit operation of the reset device only if it determines that one or more conditions are met.

2. The label of claim 1, wherein the meeting of the one more of more conditions is indicative of the power source having sufficient power for the timer to monitor the restarted first time period until expiry.

3. The label of claim 1 or 2, wherein the reset controller is configured to monitor time that has lapsed following initiating of monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time, and wherein one of the conditions is that the time that has lapsed does not exceed a time lapse threshold.

4. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reset controller is configured to monitor a total time that the timer has monitored time periods, and wherein one of the conditions is that the total time does not exceed a total time threshold.

5. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reset controller is configured to monitor a number of times that the timer has monitored a time period, and wherein one of the conditions is that the number of times does not exceed a total number of times threshold.

6. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reset controller is configured to monitor one or more electrical parameters of the power source, and wherein one of the conditions is that one or more electrical parameters exceed or do not exceed a respective electrical parameter threshold.

7. The label of claim 6, wherein one of the electrical parameters is voltage of the power source, and wherein one of conditions is that the voltage exceeds a voltage threshold.

8. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reset device comprises a user input device, wherein operation of the user input device restarts monitoring of the first time period if the one or more conditions are met.

9. The label of claim 8, wherein the user input device is a first button.

10. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reset device is operable to start a monitoring of a second time period that is different from the first time period.

11. The label of claim 10, wherein the reset device comprises a further user input device, wherein operation of the further user input device starts or restarts monitoring of the second time period if the one or more conditions are met.

12. The label of claim, 11 wherein the further user input device is a second button.

13. The label of any one of the preceding claims comprising an actuator operable to cause monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time.

14. The label of claim 13, wherein the actuator comprises a tab that is releasable to cause monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time.

15. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the timing device comprises a housing, wherein each one of the timer, signalling apparatus and the power source is at least partially located in the housing.

16. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the signalling apparatus is configured to provide one or more alert signals before expiry of the predetermined time period.

17. The label of claim 16, wherein the signalling apparatus is configured to provide alert signals that are different before and after expiry of the predetermined time period.

18. The label of claim 17, wherein the different types of alert signals are light signals of different colours or different combinations of colours.

19. The label of any one of the preceding claims wherein the signal apparatus comprises at least one LED to provide the alert signal.

20. The label of any one of the preceding claims wherein the signal apparatus comprises at least one piezo-electric buzzer or transducer to provide the alert signal.

21. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the power source comprises one or more batteries.

22. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the fixing portion comprises adhesive.

23. The label of claim 22 wherein the fixing portion comprises a backing layer releasably covering the adhesive.

24. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the fixing portion comprises a loop, or one or more elongate elements adjustable to form a loop.

25. The label according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the label has a first portion in which at least the timer and signalling apparatus are located and a second portion that extends from the first portion, the second portion comprising a slot, wherein the first portion is insertable through the slot to form a loop.

26. The label of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reset controller is configured to permit operation of the reset device based on receipt of an external signal from an external source.

27. The label of claim 26, wherein the external signal is any one of: a magnetic signal, an electromagnetic signal, a light signal, a radio signal, a UV signal, a thermal signal, a Bluetooth signal and a WiFi signal.

28. The label of claim 26 or 27, wherein the external signal is encoded.

29. The label of any one of claims 26 to 28, wherein the external source is any one of: a magnet, a light, a radio emitter, a UV emitter, a heater, a computing device, a geolocation device, a GPS device, and a cellular device.

30. A label comprising:

a fixing portion to fix the label to an object; and

a timing device comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period;

a power source to supply power to the timer and the signalling apparatus;

a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period; and a reset controller configured to permit operation of the reset device based on receipt of an external signal from an external source.

31. A label comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period; a first portion in which the timer and signalling apparatus are located; and a second portion that extends from the first portion, the second portion comprising a slot, wherein the first portion is insertable through the slot to form a loop.

32. The label of claim 31, wherein the second portion is substantially planar.

33. The label of claim 31 or 32 comprising a substantially planar layer that extends across the first portion and the second portion, the slot extending through the layer.

34. The label of claim 33, wherein the layer is one-piece.

35. The label of claim 34, wherein the layer defines a front surface of the label at both the first portion and the second portion.

36. A label comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period; and

a front surface, the front surface being configured to receive temporary erasable markings from a marker pen.

37. The label of claim 36, wherein the marker pen is a dry-erase marker or a wet-erase marker.

38. The label of claim 36 or 37, wherein the front surface is any one or more of: shiny, smooth, glossy and non-porous.

39. The label of any one of claims 36 to 38, wherein the front surface is configured to be wipe -cleaned of markings.

40. The label of any one of claims 36 to 39, wherein the front surface is light-coloured.

41. The label of any one of claims 36 to 40, wherein the label comprises a fixing portion.

42. The label of claim 41, wherein the fixing portion comprises adhesive or a magnet.

43. The label of claim 41 or 42, wherein the label comprises a first fixing portion on or adjacent a rear surface of the label.

44. The label of claim 43, wherein the label further comprises a second fixing portion on or adjacent the front surface of the label such that the label is releasably reversibly fixable to an object.

45. The label of claim 44, wherein at least one of the first and second fixing portions comprises a magnet.

Description:
Label and timing device

Cross-reference to related applications

[0001] The present application claims priority to Australian provisional patent application no. 2018901609, filed on 10 May 2018, and Australian provisional patent application no.

2018902041, filed on 6 June 2018, the entire content of each application being herein incorporated by reference.

Technical Field

[0002] The present disclosure pertains to monitoring of a time period relating to a product and/or activity. Products may include, for example, medical products such as medical devices or pharmaceuticals, where monitoring of the time period can reduce the risk of a patient contracting an infection or suffering other harm through prolonged use of the product.

Background

[0003] It is desirable to monitor time periods relating to products and/or activities in a variety of technical areas including, for example, in the medical space.

[0004] Despite stringent hospital guidelines for controlling the spread of bacteria, hospital- acquired infections, also known as healthcare-associated infections or“HAIs”, are

commonplace. HAIs result in unnecessary suffering for patients, extended healthcare and hospital times and significant costs to healthcare systems. A significant proportion of HAIs are caused through use of indwelling medical devices that are inserted in patients for longer than a safe time period. For example, an intravenous cannula can be inserted in a patient’s vein to deliver fluids, drugs or medical instruments. However, the intravenous cannula can also act as a conduit for bacteria to enter the human body and can provide a protected environment for bacterial incubation, leading to HAIs. With approximately 1.5 billion cannulae implanted in patients globally each year, reducing the number of HAIs caused by cannulae and other medical devices, such as urethral catheters, is paramount.

[0005] Any discussion of documents, acts, materials, devices, articles or the like which has been included in the present specification is not to be taken as an admission that any or all of these matters form part of the prior art base or were common general knowledge in the field relevant to the present disclosure as it existed before the priority date of each claim of this application. Summary

[0006] According to one aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a label comprising: a fixing portion to fix the label to an object; and

a timing device comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period;

a power source to supply power to the timer and the signalling apparatus;

a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period; and a reset controller configured to permit operation of the reset device only if it determines that one or more conditions are met.

[0007] The label may be used to monitor predetermined time periods relating to a variety of products and/or activities, including in the medical space. For example, the label may monitor a predetermined time period associated with a medical device such as an intravascular cannula that is to be inserted in a patient for a period of time. A cannula is an example of an invasive medical device that should be located in a patient for no longer than a maximum safe period (e.g., 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, 7 days or otherwise), as governed by medical standards, protocols or regulations applicable to the environment where it is used (e.g., hospital, ambulance or clinic, etc.), or manufacturer’s guidelines for the medical device. By limiting indwelling of a medical device such as a cannula to a maximum safe timer period or less, based on monitoring of that time period using the label, the risk of the patient contracting a HAI can be significantly reduced. As one example alternative to a cannula, the label may monitor a predetermined time period relating to an endoscope that is sterilized and that must be used within a specific period after sterilization to reduce the risk of causing an infection. Other examples include the label monitoring a predetermined time period relating to an ingestible substance, a pharmaceutical, a biologically active agent, a monoclonal antibody, a disinfectant, a foodstuff, a beverage a water quality testing bottle, a paint; a pesticide; a herbicide; a filter; a compressed gas tank; dialysis equipment and components; a blood product; a scientific culture medium or other item. The label may be used in a number of different environments such as a hospital, a clinic, a laboratory, a storeroom, a vehicle, outdoors or otherwise. As yet another example, the label may monitor a predetermined time period relating to a recurring activity, such as providing oral care at regular intervals to an intubated patient to prevent plaque build-up and the like. As another example, the label may be configured to monitor a predetermined time period associated with maintenance of an item of equipment, for example, hospital equipment. In this example, the label may provide indication to a user when maintenance of the equipment item is required. Additionally or alternatively, the label may indicate to a user when the equipment item is not suitable for use, for example, if it has not had a maintenance activity performed within a predetermined time period.

[0008] Providing a reset function to the label can allow the label to monitor more than one time period and therefore be re-used. This may make the label more cost-effective and reduce its environmental impact. For example, the label may be reused to monitor a safe period for indwelling of the same medical device (e.g. after reconditioning and/or cleaning) or another medical device, such as a cannula or endoscope, within the same patient or within a different patient.

[0009] In some embodiments, the reset device may be operable to start a monitoring of a second time period that is different from the first time period. The timing device may therefore be capable of monitoring two or more different time periods. A user may choose to restart the first time period or start a different, second time period, for example.

[0010] In general, the meeting of the one more of more conditions may be indicative of the power source having sufficient power for the timing device to start monitoring a time period until expiry, and for the signalling apparatus to provide the alert signal on expiry. This may provide a safety feature for the label, ensuring that the timing device will be able to complete the monitoring, and provide the alert signal on expiry of the time period, prior to power running out.

[0011] The reset controller may be configured to monitor time that has lapsed following initiating of monitoring of the first time period for the first time. One of the conditions to permit operation of the reset device may be that the time that has lapsed does not exceed a time lapse threshold.

[0012] Additionally or alternatively, the reset controller may be configured to monitor a total time that the timer has monitored time periods. One of the conditions to permit operation of the reset device may be that the total time does not exceed a total time threshold.

[0013] Additionally or alternatively, the reset controller may be configured to monitor a number of times that the timer has monitored a time period. One of the conditions to permit operation of the reset device may be that the total number of times does not exceed a total number of times threshold.

[0014] Additionally or alternatively, the reset controller may be configured to monitor one or more electrical parameters of the power source. One of the conditions to permit operation of the reset device may be that the one or more electrical parameters exceed or do not exceed a respective electrical parameter threshold. For example, one of the electrical parameters may be voltage of the power source, wherein one of conditions is that the voltage must exceed a voltage threshold.

[0015] Additionally or alternatively, the reset controller may be configured to monitor the geographical location of the label. One of the conditions to permit operation of the reset device may be that geographical location of the label is within a predetermined geographical location region, or does not exceed a distance threshold from a predetermined geographical location or geographical location region.

[0016] The reset device may comprise a user input device, such as a first button, wherein pressing of the first button can restart monitoring of the first time period if it is determined that the one or more conditions are met.

[0017] In some embodiments, the location of the reset device may be readily apparent from the shape or configuration of the user input device, e.g. button or otherwise. In some embodiments, a user input device may be integrated with, or provided underneath, a surface of the label and the location of the user input device may be indicated, for example, by a raised portion or recessed portion of the surface of the label, or by a sign, symbol or other marking on a surface of the label.

[0018] Alternatively, the location of the reset device may not be readily apparent. For example, a user input device may be hidden or otherwise obscured. In some embodiments, the user input device of the reset device may be integrated with, or provided underneath, a surface of the label and the location of the user input device on the label may not be indicated on or at the surface of the label. For example, the surface of the label adjacent the user input device may be a flat portion of the surface of the label without visual indication of the location of the user input device. The hidden nature of the location of the reset device including the user input device may provide a safety feature to the label, reducing the risk of unauthorised activation of the reset device.

[0019] In some embodiments, the reset device may comprise a plurality of user input devices, such as first and second buttons, wherein pressing of the first button restarts monitoring of the first time period if it is determined that the one or more conditions are met, and pressing of the second button starts monitoring of a second time period if it is determined that the one or more conditions are met. Nevertheless, when the label is capable of monitoring more than one time period, e.g. first and second time periods, the label does not necessarily have separate reset buttons. For example, a single button may be used to cycle through options to select a particular time period. In some embodiments, the signalling apparatus may also be used to provide an indication of the predetermined time period that has been selected. [0020] By allowing monitoring of first and second (or more) time periods, the label may be used to monitor relevant time periods associated with different objects, processes or otherwise. For example, if a first medical device such as first type of cannula has a safe indwelling period of 24 hours, and a second medical device such as a second type of cannula has a safe indwelling period of 48 hours, by setting the first and second time periods at 24 hours and 48 hours, respectively, the label may be selectively used in relation to either medical device.

[0021] In some embodiments, when no previous monitoring of the predetermined first time period has taken place, a user input device such as the first button may also be operable to cause monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time. Additionally or alternatively, the timing device may comprise a separate actuator operable to cause monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time. The actuator may comprise a tab, for example, the tab being releasable to cause monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time. The tab may comprise a distal end that is engageable by a user’s fingers to release the tab. A part of the tab may be interposed between electrical components of the timing device. Interposing of the tab between the electrical components may prevent a supply of electricity from the power source to the timer until the tab is released.

[0022] In some embodiments, the timing device may be permitted to monitor the

predetermined first time period for the first time only if it is determined, e.g. by the reset controller or another controller of the label, that one or more conditions are met. For example, the reset controller or another controller of the label may be configured to monitor one of more of: a time elapsed since a manufacture date of the label; and a time elapsed since quality control testing of the label. One of the conditions to permit operation of the timing device to monitor the predetermined first time period for the first time may be that a time elapsed (e.g., since date of manufacture or quality testing) does not exceed a total time threshold.

[0023] Additionally or alternatively, the label, e.g. the reset controller or another controller of the label, may be configured to read an encoded pass/fail result of quality control testing. One of the conditions to permit operation of the timing device for the first time may be that the encoded quality control testing result is a pass, thus preventing use of a label that has either failed quality control testing or has not undergone quality control testing.

[0024] In some embodiments, as an alternative or in addition to the reset controller being configured to permit operation of the reset device only if it determines that one or more conditions are met, the reset controller configured may be configured to permit operation of the reset device based on receipt of an external signal from an external source.

[0025] Related to this, according to one aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a label comprising: a fixing portion to fix the label to an object; and

a timing device comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period;

a power source to supply power to the timer and the signalling apparatus;

a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period; and a reset controller configured to permit operation of the reset device based on receipt of an external signal from an external source.

[0026] In any of the aspects described herein, the external signal may be a magnetic signal, an electromagnetic signal (e.g. a light signal, a radio signal or a UV signal), a thermal signal, a Bluetooth signal, a WiFi signal, a geolocation signal, a GPS signal, a cellular signal or otherwise. The signal may be encoded in some instances.

[0027] The requirement for receipt of an external signal from an external source may provide a further safety feature to the label. It may ensure that use of the reset device can be carried out by a limited group of persons and/or in certain circumstances only. Thus, having mere access to the label may not be enough for a person to be able to cause operation of the reset device (e.g. by pressing a manual button). Additionally or alternatively, access to the source of the external signal may be required. Depending on the nature of the external signal, the external source may be a magnet, a light, a radio emitter, a UV emitter, a heater, a computing device, a geolocation device, a GPS device, a cellular device or otherwise.

[0028] The requirement for receipt of an external signal from an external source may provide a safety feature when cleaning or disinfecting of the label is required before re-using to monitoring a time period. For example, if the label is to be mounted to an endoscope to monitor a period of safe, clean use of the endoscope, after the period has expired the label may need to be washed, e.g. sterilised or disinfected. A qualified operator, such as an operator of an endoscope washing machine, may be provided with the external source and only they may therefore be able to place the label in a state that is suitable for reset once washing of the label has been completed. In some instances, the external signal may be provided automatically. For example, if the external signal is a thermal signal, washing at high temperature may provide the external signal.

[0029] In any aspect of the present disclosure, the timing device may comprise a housing, wherein each one of the timer, signalling apparatus and the power source is at least partially located in the housing. The label may comprise a planar element that extends across the label and the housing may be fixed to a portion of the planar element. [0030] In any aspect of the present disclosure, monitoring of the predetermined time period may comprise counting up or counting down the predetermined time period using the timer.

[0031] In any aspect of the present disclosure, in addition to providing an alert signal on expiry of the predetermined time period, the signalling apparatus may be configured to provide one or more alert signals before expiry of the predetermined time period, e.g. to indicate that the predetermined time period is being monitored and the time period has not yet expired. The alert signals may be different before and after expiry of the predetermined time period. For example, the alert signals may be light signals that are different colours or different combinations of colours. The signalling apparatus may comprise at least one LED to provide the alert signal.

[0032] In general, the signalling apparatus may comprise one or more signalling elements that produce the alert signal. Signalling elements may comprise any one or more of a display, a loudspeaker, a vibration means such as a piezo-electric buzzer or transducer, and a light, for example. The alert signal may comprise any one or more of an audible signal, a visual signal and a tactile signal, for example. The alert signal may be emitted continuously or in a flashing, beeping or repeating pattern.

[0033] In embodiments wherein the signalling element is a display, the display may be a 7 segment LED display, an“E Ink” display or similar. The display may be adapted to show a time remaining or elapsed (e.g. of the predetermined time period), a stage or an instruction. In some embodiments, the display may show a parameter calculated on the basis of the time elapsed or the time remaining.

[0034] The power source may comprise one or more batteries such as button batteries. The power source may be sealed within the housing of the timing device and may be irreplaceable in normal use, e.g. without damaging the label. This may provide for a multi-use, yet disposable label. The label may be maintained more easily in a clean or sterile condition due to the omission of any access opening to the power source, which may render the label as sealed/impervious to fluids. This may prevent significant contamination of the label and/or prevent the label causing external damage e.g. due to leakage of battery chemicals. The power source, e.g. battery, may be single use or may be rechargeable (for example, by induction charging).

[0035] The fixing portion of the label may comprise any suitable fixing device for fixing to an appropriate surface or object. For example, the fixing device may comprise adhesive.

Additionally or alternatively, the fixing device may comprise a clip, hook and loop fastener, loop, hook, magnet or otherwise. [0036] In some embodiments, the label comprises a plurality of fixing portions. Each fixing portion may comprise any suitable fixing device. The fixing portions may be spaced apart such that the label is fixable to an object in a plurality of orientations. For example, in some embodiments the fixing devices may each comprise a magnet. In some embodiments, a fixing portion such as a magnet may be associated with each of a front and rear face of the label such that the label is reversibly fixable to an appropriate surface of an object, e.g. a magnetic, ferromagnetic surface such as a magnetic noticeboard, whiteboard or otherwise.

[0037] Whether through use of one or a plurality of fixing portions, the label may be releasably reversibly fixable to an object, e.g. a mounting surface such as a whiteboard. For example, the fixing portion(s) may enable both a front and a rear surface of the label to be selectively fixed to an object. To enable release of the fixing of either of the front and rear surfaces of the label to the object, the label may comprise one or more gripping portions. For example, the front surface and/or rear surfaces may each comprise a gripping portion on at least one of their edges to facilitate the release of the label. In some embodiments, the front surface (and/or the rear surface) has a gripping portion in the form of a curved edge. Additionally or alternatively, the gripping portion may comprise an undercut or protrusion.

[0038] In some embodiments, the fixing portion may comprise one or more elongate elements adjustable to form a loop. The label may have a first portion in which the timer and signalling apparatus are located and a second portion that extends from the first portion. The second portion may be elongate and/or may comprise a slot. The first portion may be insertable through the slot to form a loop.

[0039] Related to this, in one aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a label comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period; a first portion in which the timer and signalling apparatus are located; and

a second portion that extends from the first portion, the second portion comprising a slot, wherein the first portion is insertable through the slot to form a loop.

[0040] At least the second portion may be substantially planar. The label may comprise a substantially planar layer (e.g. a sheet) that extends across the first portion and the second portion, the slot extending through the layer. The slot may be formed by a cut of the layer. The layer may be one-piece. The layer may define a front surface of the label at both the first portion and the second portion.

[0041] The loop may be formed around an object such as an endoscope or other medical device such that the label hangs from the object. In addition to the first portion, part of the second portion may also be pulled through the slot, causing the loop to tighten around the object. The configuration of the first and second portions and the slot may allow for the label to be mounted to an object by virtue of what is effectively a“lanyard hitch” or a“cow hitch” engagement.

[0042] In any aspect of the present disclosure, the label may comprise a front surface on which information may be printed and/or written, e.g. during manufacture and/or during use. The information may relate to the product in relation to which time periods is being monitored, including information on the type of product, the date of use of the product, and the last time the product was changed, used and/or reviewed, etc.

[0043] In one embodiment, the front surface is configured to receive temporary erasable markings from a non-permanent marker pen.

[0044] Related to this, in one aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a label comprising:

a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period;

a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period; and

a front surface, the front surface being configured to receive temporary erasable markings from a marker pen.

[0045] In any of the aspects described herein, the marker pen may be a dry-erase marker (e.g. a whiteboard marker) or a wet-erase marker. The front surface of the label may be any one or more of: shiny, smooth, glossy and non-porous. The front surface of the label may be flat. The front surface of the label may be configured to be wipe -cleaned of markings. The front surface of the label may be light-coloured, e.g. white, to allow use with a number of differently coloured markers. The front surface of the label may be considered to provide, in part or in its entirety, a whiteboard surface, albeit the front surface is not necessarily white in colour.

[0046] The front surface of the label may be a front surface of a sheet, panel, housing or body that forms part of the label such as a bulk component of the label. The sheet, panel, housing or body may be substantially planar in shape.

[0047] The label may include any one or more of the other features described herein, relating to the timer, signalling apparatus, fixing portion or otherwise. The label may comprise a fixing portion, e.g. on a rear surface or side, such as an adhesive layer or magnet.

[0048] Labels according to the present disclosure may be relatively small, thin and/or discrete elements or tags, used to provide information, including timing information, about an object, and which may be mounted directly to the object, at a position adjacent the object or otherwise. The labels may be flexible, rigid, or partly flexile and partly rigid. The labels may be substantially planar, but may also take other forms. The labels may have a maximum thickness that is less than 30mm, less than 20mm, less than 10 mm or less than 5 mm, although the labels are not necessarily limited to this thickness and may have a greater thickness in some instances.

[0049] Throughout this specification the word "comprise", or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps.

Brief Description of Drawings

[0050] Embodiments of the present disclosure will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0051] Fig. 1 is a top view of a label including a timing device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0052] Fig. 2 is a rear view of the label of Fig. 1 ;

[0053] Fig. 3 is an oblique view of the timing device of the label of Fig. 1 ;

[0054] Fig. 4 is a schematic drawing of the timing device of Fig. 3;

[0055] Fig. 5 is a schematic drawing of a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0056] Fig. 6 is a schematic drawing of a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0057] Fig. 7 is a front view of a label including timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure in combination with an external signal source;

[0058] Fig. 8 is a schematic drawing of the timing device of Fig. 7 ;

[0059] Fig. 9 is a front view of a label including a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0060] Fig. 10 is a rear view of the label of Fig. 9; [0061] Fig. 11 is a front view of the label of Fig. 9 mounted to an object;

[0062] Fig. 12 is a front view of a label including a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0063] Fig. 13 is a rear view of the label of Fig. 12;

[0064] Fig. 14 is a side view of the label of Fig. 12;

[0065] Fig. 15 is an exploded front perspective view of the label of Fig. 12;

[0066] Fig. 16 is an exploded rear perspective view of the label of Fig. 12.

[0067] Fig. 17 is a front view of a label including a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0068] Fig. 18 is a rear view of the label of Fig. 17;

[0069] Fig. 19 is a side view of the label of Fig. 17;

[0070] Fig. 20 is an exploded front perspective view of the label of Fig. 17;

[0071] Fig. 21 is an exploded rear perspective view of the label of Fig. 17;

[0072] Fig. 22 is a front view of a label including a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure; and

[0073] Figs. 23A and 23B are front views of a label including a timing device according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

Description of Embodiments

[0074] Front and rear views of a label 100 comprising a timing device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure are shown in Figs. 1 and 2. As discussed further below, the timing device includes a timer to monitor a predetermined first time period, a signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period and a power source to supply power to the timer and the signalling apparatus. The timing device also includes a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period and a reset controller configured to control operation of the reset device. [0075] The label according to this and other embodiments of the present disclosure can be used to monitor predetermined time periods relating to a variety of products and/or activities, including in the medical space. For example, the label may monitor a predetermined time period associated with a medical device such as an intravascular cannula that is to be inserted in a patient for a period of time. A cannula is an example of an invasive medical device that should be located in a patient for no longer than a maximum safe period (e.g., 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, 7 days or otherwise), as governed by medical standards, protocols or regulations applicable to the environment where it is used (e.g., hospital, ambulance or clinic, etc.), or manufacturer’s guidelines for the medical device. By limiting indwelling of a medical device such as a cannula to a maximum safe timer period or less, based on monitoring of that time period using the label, the risk of the patient contracting a HAI can be significantly reduced. As one example alternative to a cannula, the label may monitor a predetermined time period relating to an endoscope that is sterilized and that must be used within a specific period after sterilization to reduce the risk of causing an infection. As yet another example, the label may monitor a predetermined time period relating to a recurring activity, such as providing oral care at regular intervals to an intubated patient to prevent plaque build-up and the like. As another example, the label may be configured to monitor a predetermined time period associated with maintenance of an item of equipment, for example, hospital equipment. In this example, the label may provide indication to a user when maintenance of the equipment item is required. Additionally or alternatively, the label may indicate to a user when the equipment item is not suitable for use, for example, if it has not had a maintenance activity performed within a predetermined time period.

[0076] Providing a reset function to the timing device of the label can allow the label to be re used, making the timing device more cost-efficient and reducing its environmental impact. The label may be reused to monitor a safe period for indwelling of the same medical device (e.g. after reconditioning and/or cleaning) or another medical device, such as a cannula or endoscope, within the same patient or within a different patient.

[0077] The medical device is not necessarily an invasive, indwelling device or a device prone to causing infection, however. In some embodiments, the label may be used with any medical device for which monitoring of a predetermined time period is desirable. For example, the medical device may be a compression bandage or a drug delivery patch that should be removed within a specific period of time. As another example, the medical device may be a hospital bed, wherein a patient lying on the bed should be encouraged to move periodically to avoid pressure sores.

[0078] Moreover, in some embodiments, the label 100 may be used to monitor non-medical device products and/or products such as a substance or material that has a specific expiry period or recommended usage period. For example, the product may be an ingestible substance, a pharmaceutical, a biologically active agent, a monoclonal antibody, a disinfectant, a foodstuff, a beverage a water quality testing bottle, a paint; a pesticide; a herbicide; a filter; a compressed gas tank; dialysis equipment and components; a blood product; a scientific culture medium and/or any other substance or material that has a specific expiry or usage period. The label 100 may be used in a number of environments such as a hospital, a clinic, a laboratory, a storeroom, a vehicle, outdoors or otherwise.

[0079] The label 100 may be fixed to a location that is easily accessible by a user and/or that provides a conspicuous location for observation or recognition by the user of the alert signal. In some embodiments, the label 100 may be fixed to a surface of product in relation to which one or more time periods are being monitored. In other embodiments, the label 100 may be fixed to a surface adjacent the product in relation to which one or more time periods are being monitored, or otherwise. Suitable fixing locations may include a hospital bed or bedhead trunking, a whiteboard or a notice board for example.

[0080] In this embodiment, with reference to Figs. 1 and 2, the label 100 has a substantially planar configuration, with substantially rectangular front and rear surfaces 111, 112, a first end edge 113, a second end edge 114, a first side edge 115 and a second side edge 116. The length direction of the label 100 extends between the first and second end edges 113, 114 and the width direction of the label 100 extends between the first and second sides edges 115, 116.

[0081] In the length direction of the label 100, the label is divided into a first portion 121 and a second portion 122, the first and second portions 121, 122 being located at opposite sides of a line of perforations 123 of the label 100. The first portion 121 is located towards the first end 113 of the label 100 and the second portion 122 is located towards the second end 114 of the label 100. The second line of perforations 123 extends between the first and second side edges 115, 116 of the label 100 in the width direction of the label 100. The first portion 121 is smaller than the second portion 122. Both the first portion 121 and the second portion 122 extend across the full width of the label 100. The second portion 122 extends across a greater length of the first label 100 than the first portion 121. The first portion 121 is separable from the second portion 122 by virtue of a user tearing along the line of perforations 123. This can allow recycling of the electronic components of the label 100 independently of the remainder of the label.

[0082] The second portion 122 of the label 100 includes a fixing portion to fix the label 100 to an object, e.g., a support surface of an object. The fixing portion comprises adhesive in this embodiment to fix the label 100 to the support surface. The adhesive is covered by a backing layer 130, the backing layer 130 being releasable, e.g. by peeling, to expose the adhesive.

[0083] The timing device is provided at the first portion 121 of the label. The timing device includes a housing 140 and an electronics unit 150 located in the housing 140, the electronics unit 150 being illustrated in Fig. 3 and discussed in more detail below. The label 100 is substantially flat, except at a region of the label 100 at which the housing 140 and electronics unit 150 are located.

[0084] An oblique view of the electronics unit 150 is provided in Fig. 3. The electronics unit 150 includes a printed circuit board (PCB) 151 on which a battery 152 is mounted along with a first LED 153, a second LED 154, a processor 155 (e.g. microchip) and a reset button 157. The battery 152 provides a power source for the timing device including the LEDs 153, 154 and the processor 155. The LEDs 153, 154 are each visible at the front surface 111 of the label 100, through translucent material that is at least partially used to form the label 100, at respective LED locations 153a, 154a. The reset button 157 is pressable through the material at the front surface 111 of the label 100, at a button location 157a.

[0085] In some embodiments, the button location 157a is indicated by, for example, a raised or recessed portion of the label front surface 111, or by a sign, symbol or other marking on the surface 111. In other embodiments, the button location 157a may be hidden, for example, by integrating the button with, or locating the button under, a flat portion of the surface 111 with no identifying markings. Alternatively, the button location 157a may be indicated with markings (such as letters, symbols or coloured/shaded regions) which would not be readily interpreted as indicative of a button location. In such embodiments, the user of the label 100 would require prior knowledge of the button location 157a in order to restart monitoring of the time period, thus ensuring that use of the reset button 157 is restricted to a limited group of persons (for example, qualified maintenance personnel). The hidden nature of the reset button may provide a safety feature, ensuring that the reset button 157 is not unintentionally or maliciously activated.

[0086] The electronics unit 150 provides a timer to monitor the predetermined first time period and signalling apparatus to provide the alert signal on expiry of the predetermined first time period. Referring to Fig. 4, which provides a schematic illustration of components of the electronics unit 150, the timer is provided at least in part by a timing module 1551 of the processor 155, and is configured in this embodiment to start timing when electricity is supplied to the processor 155 from the battery 152. The signalling apparatus is provided in part by a signalling module 1552 of the processor 155 and in part by the first and/or second LEDs 153, 154.

[0087] Electricity is provided to the processor 155, and to the LEDS 153, 154, via an electrical circuit including the PCB 151. Referring again to Fig. 3, the electrical circuit is connected to the battery 152 by a first electrical contact (not visible) and a second electrical contact 156. The first electrical contact is positioned on the PCB 151, underneath the battery 152, to electrically contact a first terminal of the battery 151. The second electrical contact 156 is provided by a flexible conductive arm that forms a bridge from the PCB 151 over the battery 152 to electrically contact a second terminal of the battery 152. The second electrical contact 156 also clips the battery 152 in place, holding it firmly in position against the PCB 151.

[0088] In this embodiment, the label 100 includes an actuator, and specifically a releasable tab 130, to initiate the monitoring of the predetermined first time period by the timer for the first time. Referring to Fig. 2, the tab 130 has a proximal end 131 that extends into the housing 140 and a distal end 132 that is engageable by a user to pull the tab 130.

[0089] Referring to Fig. 3, the proximal end 131 of the tab, which is non-conductive, is positioned under the battery 152 between the first terminal of the battery 152 and the first electrical contact of the PCB 151. While the proximal end 131 is in this position, the first electrical contact is insulated from the first terminal of the battery 152 by the tab and the electrical circuit is therefore incomplete (open). In this state, electricity cannot flow from the battery 152 to other components of the electronics unit including the processor 155. However, when the proximal end 131 of the tab 130 is removed, e.g. as a result of a user pulling the distal end 132 of the tab 130 in a direction away from the electronics unit 150 as indicated by arrow 1300 in Fig. 3, the first terminal of the battery 152 and the first electrical contact are configured to touch so as to complete (close) the electrical circuit. When complete, electricity can flow from the battery 152 to the processor 155, which can provide a trigger to initiate monitoring of the predetermined first time period by the timer for the first time. Monitoring of the predetermined first time period may comprise counting up or counting down the time period using the timer. At expiry of the predetermined time period, the signalling apparatus is configured to cause its first and/or second LEDs 153, 154 to flash. In alternative embodiments, in addition or as an alternative to LEDs or other lights, the signalling apparatus may comprise any one or more of a display, a loudspeaker, a vibration means such as a piezo-electric buzzer or transducer. The alert signal may comprise any one or more of an audible signal, a visual signal and a tactile signal, for example. The alert signal may be emitted continuously or in a flashing, beeping or repeating pattern. Moreover, the signalling apparatus may be configured to provide an alert signal before expiry of the predetermined time period, e.g. to indicate that the predetermined time period is being monitored and the time period has not yet expired.

[0090] In this embodiment, the electronics unit 150 also provides a reset device operable to restart a monitoring of the first time period, and a reset controller configured to control operation of the reset device. Specifically, in this embodiment, the reset controller will permit operation of the reset device only if it determines that one or more conditions are met. The reset device is provided in part by the reset button 157, 157a and in part by a reset module 1553 of the processor 155. The reset controller 1554 is also provided by the processor 155. The reset module 1553 is configured to restart monitoring of the first time period by the timing module 1551 upon pressing of the reset button 157, but only if the reset controller determines that the one or more conditions are met.

[0091] In some embodiments, the reset button 157, or a further actuation element such as a further button, may also provide for pausing or stopping of monitoring of any time period.

When the reset button 157 is used to pause or stop monitoring of the time period, it may be pressed once, for example. When the reset button 157 is used to reset monitoring of the time period, it may be pressed twice (within a short time period), for example.

[0092] In some embodiments, the reset button 157, or a further actuation element such as a further button, may also provide for initiating of monitoring of the first time period for the first time. Thus, whether or not a tab 130 is provided that is releasable to permit electricity to flow, initiating of monitoring of the first time period for the first time may not take place until the reset button 157 or the further button is pressed.

[0093] In general, the one or more conditions that must be met may be indicative of the power source 152 having sufficient power for the timer 1551 to monitor the restarted first time period until expiry of that time period and for the signalling apparatus 1552, 153, 154 to provide the alert signal upon expiry. Thus, if the first time period is 7 days, the one or more conditions may be indicative of the power source 152 having sufficient power for the timer 1551 to monitor time for at least 7 days upon resetting the timing, and for the signalling apparatus 1552, 153, 154 to provide the alert signal upon expiry of the 7 days. Nevertheless, the one or more conditions may include a power buffer. For example, in some instances, the one or more conditions may be indicative of the power source 152 having significantly more power than is needed for the timer 1551 to monitor the restarted first time period until expiry and for the signalling apparatus 1552, 153, 154 to provide the alert signal after expiry. For example, if the first time period is 7 days, the one or more conditions may be indicative of the power source 152 having sufficient power for the timer 1551 to monitor time for greater than 7 days, e.g. 14 days, following reset, and for the signalling apparatus 1552, 153, 154 to provide the alert signal upon expiry.

[0094] Thus, the one or more conditions may reflect prior usage of the timing device of the label 100 and therefore prior usage of the power source 152.

[0095] In one embodiment, the controller 1554 is configured to determine time that has lapsed following initiating of monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time. In this instance, a condition that must be met, for the controller 1554 to allow operation of the reset device 157, 1553, is that the time that has lapsed does not exceed a time lapse threshold. For example, if the minimum typical life of the battery 152 is X days (with some additional power available for providing the alert signal(s)), and the first time period is Y days, the time lapse threshold TLT may be X - Y. If the timing device (and therefore the power source 152) is unlikely to be in continual use during this time lapse period, however, this may provide a relatively conservative threshold. Nevertheless, for yet greater caution, the time lapse threshold may selected to be lower than what would normally be necessary, e.g. TLT = X-2Y, or TLT = X-3Y, or otherwise.

[0096] Taking into consideration that the timing device may not be in continual use after initiating of monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time, in an alternative embodiment the controller 1554 may be configured to monitor a total time that the timer 1551 has actively been monitoring time periods. In this instance, a condition that must be met, to allow operation of the reset device 157, 1553, is that the total time does not exceed a total time threshold. For example, if the minimum typical life of the battery 152 is X (with some additional power available for providing the alert signal(s)), and the first time period is Y, the total time threshold TTT may be X-Y. As the timing device will be in continual use for this total time threshold, this may provide a relatively non-conservative threshold. For greater caution the total time threshold may be lower than what would normally be necessary, e.g. TTT = X-2Y, or TTT = X-3Y, or otherwise.

[0097] Additionally or alternatively, the controller may be configured to monitor a number of times that the timer 1551 has monitored a time period. In this instance, a condition that must be met, for the controller 1554 to allow operation of the reset device 157, 1553, is that the total number of times does not exceed a total number of times threshold. For example, if the minimum typical life of the battery 152 is X (with some additional power available for providing the alert signal(s)), and the first time period is Y, the total number of times threshold NTT may be X/Y, rounded down to the nearest integer. As timing may be reset before expiry of a time period, however, this may provide a relatively conservative threshold. Nevertheless, for yet greater caution, the number of times threshold may selected to be lower than what would normally be necessary, e.g. NTT = (X/Y) - 1, or NTT = (X/Y) - 2, or otherwise.

[0098] Additionally or alternatively, the timing device may be configured to monitor one or more electrical parameters of the power source. Thus, in a variation of the electronics unit 150’ as illustrated in Fig. 5, an electrical monitoring device such as a voltmeter 158 may be included. In this variation, a condition that must be met, for the controller 1554 to allow operation of the reset device 157, 1553, is that the one or more electrical parameters exceeds or does not exceed a respective electrical parameter threshold. The electrical parameter threshold can be indicative of whether or not there is sufficient charge remaining in the battery 152 for the timer 1551 to monitor the restarted first time period until expiry of that time period and for the signalling apparatus 1552, 153, 154 to provide the alert signal upon expiry. For example, where voltage of the battery 152 is measured using the voltmeter 158, a condition that must be met may be that the voltage of the battery 152 must exceed a voltage threshold. [0099] Additionally or alternatively, the controller may be configured to monitor the geographical location of the label 100. One of the conditions to permit operation of the reset device may be that geographical location of the label is within a predetermined geographical location region, or does not exceed a distance threshold from a predetermined geographical location or geographical location region. To allow monitoring of the location of the label, the label may comprise a location monitor such as a GPS device.

[0100] In some embodiments, monitoring of the predetermined first time period for the first time may be permitted only if it is determined, e.g. by the reset controller 1554 or another controller of the label 100, that one or more conditions are met. For example, the reset controller or another controller of the label 100 may be configured to monitor one of more of: a time elapsed since a manufacture date of the label; and a time elapsed since quality control testing of the label 100. One of the conditions to permit operation of the timing device to monitor the predetermined first time period for the first time may be that a time elapsed (e.g., since date of manufacture or quality testing) does not exceed a total time threshold.

[0101] In the embodiments described above, the timing device of the label may be capable of monitoring only a first time period multiple times. However, the timing device may be modified to enable monitoring of at least a second time period that is different from the first time period. For example, the first time period may be 7 days and the second time period may be 14 days, etc. Thus, in a variation of the electronics unit 150”, as illustrated in Fig. 6, the reset device 1553 may comprises at least first and second buttons 1571, 1572, wherein pressing of the first button 1571 restarts monitoring of the first time period if it is determined that the one or more conditions are met, and pressing of the second button 1572 starts monitoring of the second time period if it is determined that the one or more conditions are met. The conditions can be adjusted to take into account that more power will be used to monitor the longer one of the first and second time periods than the shorter one of the first and second time periods.

[0102] A label 200 according to another embodiment of the present disclosure is illustrated in Fig. 7, the label including a timing device 250 configured as illustrated in Fig. 8. The label 200 and timing device 250 are substantially the same as the label 100 and timing device 150 as discussed above, except that the reset controller 2554 is configured to permit operation of the reset device 257, 2553, associated with the timing module 2551 and signalling module 2552, only if a signal receiver 259 of the timing device 250 receives an external signal from an external source 260.

[0103] In this embodiment, the external signal that must be received is a magnetic signal, the external source being a magnet 260. Thus, the magnet 260 must be brought into close proximity to the signal receiver 259 (which may be a magnetic switch, for example). Upon receipt of the signal (e.g. upon switching of the magnetic switch 259), operation of the reset device 257, 2553 may be allowed. However, in this embodiment, the reset controller 2554 can require other conditions such as those indicative of remaining power of the battery 258 to also be met to allow operation of the reset device 257, 2553.

[0104] In alternative embodiments, the external signal may be an electromagnetic signal (e.g. a light signal, a radio signal or a UV signal), a thermal signal, a Bluetooth signal, a WiFi signal, a geolocation signal, a GPS signal, a cellular signal or otherwise. The signal may be encoded in some instances. Depending on the nature of the external signal, the external source may be a magnet, a light, a radio emitter, a UV emitter, a heater, a computing device, a geolocation device, a GPS device, a cellular device or otherwise.

[0105] The requirement for receipt of the signal from the external source 260 may provide a further safety feature to the label. It may ensure that use of the reset device 257, 2553 can be carried out by a limited group of persons and/or in certain circumstances or locations only.

Thus, having mere access to the label 200 may not be enough for a person to be able to cause operation of the reset device (e.g. by pressing the button 257). The requirement for receipt of a signal from an external source may provide a safety feature when cleaning or disinfecting of the label is required before re-using to monitor a time period. For example, if the label is to be mounted to an endoscope to monitor a period of safe, clean use of the endoscope, after the period has expired the label may need to be washed, e.g. sterilised or disinfected. A qualified operator, such as an operator of an endoscope washing machine, may be provided with the external source and only they may therefore be able to place the label in a state that is suitable for reset once washing of the label has been completed. In some instances, the external signal may be provided automatically. For example, if the external signal is a thermal signal, washing at high temperature may provide the external signal.

[0106] Generally, it will be recognised that the processor used with the timing device according to any of the embodiments of the present disclosure can comprise a number of control or processing modules for controlling one or more components or functions of the timing device and may also include one or more storage elements, for storing data, such as time and use data. The modules and storage elements can be implemented using one or more processing devices and one or more data storage units, which modules and/or storage devices may be at one location or distributed across multiple locations and interconnected by one or more

communication links.

[0107] Further, the modules can be implemented by a computer program or program code comprising program instructions. The computer program instructions can include source code, object code, machine code or any other stored data that is operable to cause the processor to perform the steps described. The computer program can be written in any form of programming language, including compiled or interpreted languages and can be deployed in any form, including as a stand-alone program or as a module, component, subroutine or other unit suitable for use in a computing environment. The data storage device(s) may include a non-transitory computer-readable memory medium comprising instructions that cause the processor to perform steps as described herein. The data storage device(s) may include suitable computer readable media such as volatile (e.g., RAM) and/or non-volatile (e.g., ROM, disk) memory or otherwise.

[0108] A label 300 according to another embodiment of the present disclosure is illustrated in Figs. 9 and 10. The label 300 also includes a timing device located within a housing 340, which timing device may be configured in accordance with the timing devices 150, 150’, 150”, 250 described above or otherwise, and may therefore include a reset button 357a, LEDs 353a, 354a or otherwise. In general, it may monitor at least a predetermined first time period, and may include signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period.

[0109] In this embodiment, however, the label 300 is configured in a different manner for fixing to an object. In particular, the label 300 includes a first portion 321 in which the timer and signalling apparatus are located, and a second portion 322 that extends from the first portion, the second portion 322 comprising a slot 323. The first portion 321 is insertable through the slot 323 to form a loop 324.

[0110] As illustrated in Figs. 11, the loop 324 may be formed around an object 370 such as an endoscope or other medical device such that the label hangs from the object 370. In addition to the first portion 321, including the electronic components 340, being pulled through the slot 323, part of the second portion 322 may also be pulled through the slot 323, causing the loop 324 to tighten around the object. The configuration of the first and second portions 321, 322 and the slot 323 may allow for the label to be mounted to the object 370 by virtue of what is effectively a“lanyard hitch” or a“cow hitch” engagement.

[0111] In this embodiment, the second portion 322 is substantially planar. Indeed, the label includes a substantially planar layer 325 (e.g. a sheet) that extends across both the first portion 321 and the second portion 322, the slot 323 extending through the layer 325. The slot 323 is formed by a cut of the layer 325. The layer 325 is one-piece in this embodiment. The layer 325 defines a front surface 311 of the label at both the first portion 321 and the second portion 322.

[0112] A label 400 according to another embodiment of the present disclosure is illustrated in Figs. 12 to 16. As for previous embodiments, the label 400 also includes a timing device 450. The timing device 450 may be configured in accordance with the timing devices 150, 150’, 150”, 250 described above or otherwise, and may therefore include a reset button 457a, FEDs 453a, 454a or otherwise. In general, the timing device 450 can monitor at least a predetermined first time period, and may include signalling apparatus that provides an alert signal on expiry of the first time period. [0113] The first LED 453a may be a green LED, for example, and may indicate that monitoring of a predetermined time period has started and/or is in progress. The second LED 453b may be a red LED, for example, and may indicate that the monitoring of the predetermined time period is close to expiry, the battery power is low and/or provide a malfunction warning, for example. The reset button 457a may, in addition to resetting monitoring of a predetermined time period, be usable to start a first monitoring of a predetermined time period and/or to stop monitoring of a predetermined time period (e.g. by pressing the button 457a for a longer period of time, e.g. greater than 1 second, 2 seconds or otherwise).

[0114] In this embodiment, the label 400 includes a body 410, e.g. a rigid body, that extends substantially across the entire label 400. The body 410 is provided by a relatively flat piece of material that defines shallow recesses at its front and rear sides. In particular, a front recess 411 on the front side of the body 410 is arranged to receive a front panel 420 of the label and a rear recess 412 on the rear side of the body 410 is arranged to receive a rear panel 430 of the label. The front panel 420 when in position provides a front surface 421 of the label 400. The rear panel 430 when in position provides a fixing portion of the label 400. In some embodiments, the label 400 may be made from a recyclable material.

[0115] Information may be printed and/or written on the front surface 421 of the label 400, e.g. during manufacture and/or during use. The information may relate to the product in relation to which time periods is being monitored, including the type of product, the date of use of the product, and the last time the product was changed, used and/or reviewed, etc.

[0116] In this embodiment, the front surface 421 is configured to receive temporary erasable markings from a non-permanent marker pen, e.g., at positions marked by lines 422. The marker pen may be a dry-erase marker (e.g. a whiteboard marker) or a wet-erase marker. The front surface 421 in this embodiment is flat, smooth and non-porous. The front surface 421 is configured to be wipe -cleaned of markings. The front surface 421 is light-coloured, e.g. white, to allow use with a number of differently coloured markers. The front surface 421 may be considered to provide a whiteboard surface of the label 400.

[0117] In this embodiment, the rear panel 430 is a magnetic panel, which may be similar to a fridge magnet, for example, allowing the label to be mounted to a magnetic/ferromagnetic surface. A suitable magnetic/ferromagnetic surface may be provided by a surface of trunking, e.g. bedhead trunking, which may be provided in a room such as hospital room to house cables, or by a magnetic whiteboard or notice board. In this embodiment, as shown in Figures 13 and 14, the edge of the body 410 adjacent the magnetic rear panel 430 curves away from the rear panel 430. A curved edge may provide a gripping portion and may assist a user to more easily remove the label 400 from a planar magnetic/ferromagnetic surface. [0118] In another embodiment as shown in Figures 17 to 21, a label 400’ is provided that is very similar to the label 400 described above, although the label 400’ further includes a second magnet 460, provided within the body 410’ proximal to the front panel 420. In the illustrated embodiment, the body 410’ includes a cavity 461 in which the second magnet 460 is positioned. The second magnet 460 enables the label 400’ to be reversibly mounted to a

magnetic/ferromagnetic surface. That is, the label 400’ may be mounted: in a first orientation by the magnetic rear panel 430 wherein the front surface 421 of the label 400’ faces away from the magnetic surface; or, in a second orientation by the second magnet 460 wherein the front surface 421 of the label 400 faces the magnetic surface. This enables the front surface 421 of the label 400’ to be selectively hidden by a user, for example, to indicate when the label 400’ is not monitoring a time period. This may be useful when it is desirable for the label 400’ to remain at the point of use when inactive, for example, to indicate when a patient in a hospital does not have an inserted medical device (such as a cannula) which requires monitoring.

[0119] In this embodiment, the second magnet 460 proximal to the front panel 420 may provide a stronger magnetic force than the magnetic rear panel 430 to provide increased frictional resistance between the magnetic surface and the whiteboard front surface 421 of the label, accounting for the whiteboard front surface 421 potentially having a lower coefficient of friction than a surface of the rear panel 430. In this embodiment, as illustrated in Figures 17, 18 and 19, the edges of the body 410’ adjacent the front panel 420 and the rear panel 430 may curve away from the front and rear panels, respectively. Such curved edges may provide gripping portions and may assist a user to more easily remove the label 400’ from a planar

magnetic/ferromagnetic surface regardless of which side of the label 400’ faces the planar magnetic/ferromagnetic surface.

[0120] In alternative embodiments, the rear panel 430 may include an adhesive layer. The adhesive layer may be, for example, a polyurethane gel pad configured to be removable and reusable without leaving residue. The adhesive may be removable or permanently attached to the label.

[0121] In each of the labels 400, 400’ of Figs. 12 to 21, the body 410, 410’ of the label includes an orifice 451 in which the timing device 450 is positioned. The timing device is covered on opposite sides by the front panel 420 and the rear panel 430.

[0122] In some embodiments, the location of the reset button 457a may be indicated by a raised or recessed portion of the front surface 421, or by a sign, symbol or other marking on the surface 421. In other embodiments, the location of the button 457a may be hidden, for example, by integrating the button with, or locating the button under, a flat portion of the surface 421 with no identifying markings. For example, in one embodiment as illustrated in Figure 22, the location of button 457a’’ of a label 400”, indicated by the dashed lines, would not be visible to a user. Alternatively, the button location may be indicated with markings (such as letters, symbols or coloured/shaded regions) which would not be readily interpreted as indicative of a button location. In such embodiments, the user of the label 400” would require prior knowledge of the location of the reset button 457a’’ in order to restart monitoring of the time period, thus ensuring that use of the reset button 457a” is restricted to a limited group of persons (for example, qualified maintenance personnel). The hidden nature of the reset button may provide a safety feature, ensuring that the reset button 457a” is not unintentionally or maliciously activated.

[0123] In some embodiments, the signalling elements of a label 500, which may be otherwise similar to labels of preceding embodiments, may include a display 555. As illustrated in Figures 23A and 23B, the display 555 may be adapted to show a time remaining of the predetermined time period. In other embodiments, the display may be adapted to show a time elapsed, a stage or an instruction. In other embodiments, the display 555 may show a parameter calculated on the basis of the time elapsed or the time remaining. The display 555 may be a 7 segment LED display, an“E Ink” display or similar.

[0124] It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the above -described embodiments, without departing from the broad general scope of the present disclosure. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.