Scientists from the Bio-Integrated Department (Northwestern University) were successful in developing a sweat patch which can monitor complex biological functions. The experimental patch, which has yet to receive an official name, works on the same principles as many wearable sensors such Fitbit, but, according to the research team, it is far more complex.
John A. Rodgers, the project’s senior researcher and department’s head, declared that the enhanced sweat patch is like a micro-laboratory, capable of analyzing complex biochemical data. The device is no larger than a coin and can resist under any conditions.
In fact, in order to field test the sweat patch, Rodgers, and his team asked several cyclists competing in the Arizona long-distance race to wear it during the competition. Not only did the coin-shaped bio-sensor remained attached to the cyclists’ arms, but it was able to relay back pertinent information about the wearer’s health.
Apart from measuring common body parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, and calories, the high-tech sweat patch can also measure more complex chemicals found in your sweat such as electrolytes level, acidity level, lactate, chloride concentration, hydration level, and perspiration late.
However, according to Rodgers, the device can be adapted to screen people for conditions like cystic fibrosis and diabetes.
So, how does this device work? Rodgers declared that the sweat patch could be attached to any part of your body. After attaching the device, start working out. Once you’ve begun to sweat, the patch will start collecting tiny sweat droplets and placing them in various compartments.
These compartments contain different substances that react to specific chemicals found in your sweat. In just a couple of seconds, the compartments will start changing their color. Now, in order figure out what these colors mean, you will need to install an application on your smartphone.
With the app installed, use your phone’s camera to take a picture of your patch. Within a few seconds, your smartphone will analyze the sweat patch’s colors and provide you with valuable info regarding your state of health.
According to Rodgers, at this moment the patch has been tested both indoors and outdoors, but it can only be use a single time for just a couple of hours. However, the team is working on creating another similar sweat patch that can be used multiple times.
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