The popularity of wearable health technology has sparked something of a fitness revolution in recent years, and is now set to take the medical sector by storm. Researchers are looking to develop wearable electronics that enable continuous monitoring of health conditions and make real-time, non-invasive data acquisitions possible – and human sweat appears to be is the secret ingredient for ongoing data acquisition.
Sweat analysis has long been a tried and tested means of data acquisition within the medical field. Perspiration biomarkers help to identify human health conditions, sweat analysis is used for sports doping tests, and a sweat chloride test is the standard for diagnosing cystic fibrosis.
Being the most easily accessible body fluid, it provides accurate and insightful physiological information for analysis – but current methods of data acquisition involve collecting the patient’s perspiration in a cup and sending it off to the lab for analysis, which is both laborious and time-consuming. At the 2016 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in July 2016, a team from the University of California offered an intelligent software solution to this problem.
The “Wearable Sweat Bio-Sensor” – made from ultra-low power, flexible, printable electronics – measures the detailed sweat profiles of a wide spectrum of analytes including metabolites, electrolytes and heavy metals during various indoor and outdoor physical activities, enabling accurate, real-time data acquisition and analysis. Sensors are attached to the body like patches and monitor the patient’s condition at a molecular level, allowing health professionals to detect each and every change. This technology has life-saving potential.