Sweat Monitor Skin Patch Aims To Monitor Health

By Christie Abagon , Nov 28, 2016 03:03 AM EST

A new technology may now help you use your sweat as a tool to measure your health.  US Researchers created a skin patch that collects your sweat and track "sweat loss" as well as "sweat rate" to update yourself on your health status. 

John Rogers, a professor Northwestern University and lead author said: "Sweat is a rich, chemical broth containing a number of important chemical compounds with physiological health information."

The Wearable Technology Is About The Size Of A Quarter

Megan Fellman, Science and Engineering Editor at Northwestern University said that the "low-cost device" is only a bit bigger than the size of a quarter.  She also explained that the patch, which is to be placed on the skin on the back or forearm is meant for "one-time use" only.  The device measures hydration levels or electrolyte loss.  A smartphone app takes a picture of the colors on the patch and interprets what they mean.

In an article, Fellman also explained that the device has been recently tested on two different groups of bicyclers to assess its effectiveness.  The first group did their cycling indoors in a fitness center, while the second group rode in El Tour de Tucson in order to test the patch in a "real-world" setting.  Although the study was a "high-intensity" physical activity,  the patch stayed in place and did not experience malfunctions, researchers said. 

The Skin Patch Is Designed For Athletes But Could Broaden Its Use In The Future

Zhenan Bao from Stanford University, who is not involved in the study, but who also researches novel biomedical materials said about the patch: "It seems really practical, such a patch allows people to now have an opportunity to understand their health and how it changes depending on activities."

This breakthrough creates a lot of opportunities for biosensors in the future, researchers agreed.  Fellman said the device could hopeful be used for "disease diagnosis."

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