Wearable Sweat Sensor Monitors Your Health

Posted: Jan 28 2016, 4:28am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Wearable Sweat Sensor Monitors Your Health
The new sensor developed at UC Berkeley can be made into “smart” wristbands or headbands that provide continuous, real-time analysis of the chemicals in sweat. (UC Berkeley photo by Wei Gao)
  • Wearable Sweat Monitor lends Vital Clues as to the Health of the Body

A wearable sweat monitor has been created that lends vital clues as to the health of the human body.

The experts have built a sweat monitor that can be worn on the body. It keeps a record of the vital signs and changes in the human body by picking up signals from the sweat a person exudes.

This novel contraption is capable of moving along in rhythm and synch with an active person’s daily chores. It in turn sends the data it gathers to a smartphone.

Thus people who have jogged many miles and are at the end of their physical resources can be warned ahead of time by this device. It can prompt a user regarding dehydration, exhaustion, high stress levels and other physical issues.

Even such apps as Fitbit look like children’s toys when compared to this baby. The ultimate objective of the whole endeavor is to have a pathology laboratory right next to the body and get immediate results based on the analysis of sweat samples.

“Human sweat contains physiologically rich information, thus making it an attractive body fluid for non-invasive wearable sensors,” said study principal investigator Ali Javey, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences.

“However, sweat is complex and it is necessary to measure multiple targets to extract meaningful information about your state of health. In this regard, we have developed a fully integrated system that simultaneously and selectively measures multiple sweat analytes, and wirelessly transmits the processed data to a smartphone. Our work presents a technology platform for sweat-based health monitors.”

Users wearing the flexible sensor array can run and move freely while the chemicals in their sweat are measured and analyzed. The resulting data, which is transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device, can be used to help assess and monitor a user’s state of health. (Image by Der-Hsien Lien and Hiroki Ota, UC Berkeley)

Four markers in sweat are fundamental to this operation. They are sodium, potassium, glucose and lactate. Also temperature is kept in mind.

Low rates of sodium and potassium indicate muscle cramps and being low on water. Glucose levels indicate the state of the pancreas and any danger of contracting diabetes. As for lactate levels, they offer a view into the flow of blood in the human body.

However, this is barely the start of an exciting journey. Many other factors and biomarkers will get considered when the time comes. A human being’s total physical health is what is at stake here.

Since many years, physicians have relied on blood tests and urine and saliva analyses to find out more about the symptoms ordinary individuals face on a daily basis. Sweat was relatively missing from the scene.

But not anymore. The issue in the past was the collection of enough sweat to be worthy of analysis. With the help of this novel monitor, the individual will not need to sweat like a pig. He or she will only need to perspire slightly and the tests will be possible via the smart phone analysis in real time.

The sensors implanted in the device can obtain results from a small droplet of sweat, such are their powers of micro-measurement.

“Having a wearable sweat sensor is really incredible because the metabolites and electrolytes measured by the Javey device are vitally important for the health and well-being of an individual,” said Brooks, a co-author on the study.

“When studying the effects of exercise on human physiology, we typically take blood samples. With this non-invasive technology, someday it may be possible to know what’s going on physiologically without needle sticks or attaching little, disposable cups on you.”

In the future, maybe people might not even have to exercise in order to test their sweat samples. This is not the first time such an attempt at creating a wearable sweat monitor has been made.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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