Wearable Sensor Helps Track Health
A small sensor attached to the skin may one day replace blood tests as a way to monitor health, according to researchers from Northwestern University's Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics. The new device collects and analyzes key biomarkers—markers of health—in perspiration and relays information wirelessly to a smartphone.
For a recent study, researchers embedded chemical sensors and tiny electrodes into small rubber disk about the size and thickness of a quarter. The device is designed to direct perspiration into different channels and compartments where biomarkers such as pH, lactate, chloride, and glucose are measured. It also can help monitor physical activity by measuring perspiration rate and sweat loss. All of this information can then be analyzed with a smartphone app.
According to researchers, initial marketing of the new sensor will likely be for a one-time-use device to monitor athletes during training or competition. Other uses may include tracking glucose levels in people with diabetes and monitoring the health of active-duty military personnel.
Image Credit: J. Rogers, Northwestern University