Let your sweat flow in the name of science as engineers at the U C Berkeley have something positive to do with it. They have developed a flexible sensor that measures the metabolites and electrolytes in your sweat and syncs the results in real time to your smartphone by calibrating the data based upon skin temperature.
There are different fitness wearables that can track fundamentals like your heart rate, calories burnt or how many steps taken. So, this is a new concept of sweat monitor that’s going to track multiple biochemicals in sweat.
“Human sweat contains physiologically rich information, thus making it an attractive body fluid for non-invasive wearable sensors,” said Ali Javey, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at U C Berekey. “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.”
Consulting with a physiologist named George Brooks, Javey and his team designed the sweat sensor system. Brooks was quite impressed when the team first approached him about the sensor.
“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. “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.”
Javey and his team developed a prototype that contains five sensors on a flexible circuit board. It looks a bit clunky because of the circuit board. Currently you have to wear a funny wristband or headband. The sensors fitted there measure the electrolytes sodium and potassium, the metabolites glucose and lactate, and definitely skin temperature.
The researchers claim that it could shrink to a single, subtle chip that you could easily slip into an activity tracker or smart watch. We are still not sure when this will happen but it sounds like the future of wearable is going to be a far lot exciting.