Beacon Transcript – Researchers are trying to develop a sweat patch which will analyze one’s bodily fluids and determine various factors and losses as well as potential problems.
The research for a new health analyzer was carried out by a team of Northwestern University Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and led by John A. Rogers.
The idea behind the new sweat patch is to offer a fast, more accurate health tracking device than the ones available at the moment.
As the sweat patch results were analyzed in two studies, the results were published earlier this week in the Science Translational Medicine journal.
The device is a little bigger than a quarter and functions as a tiny, wearable laboratory.
Sensors attached to it collect sweat sample and analyze them. The test results are then beamed to a smartphone or other digital devices.
The aforementioned Rogers explained that sweat is composed of biochemical components which can reveal important information about a person’s health.
As such, the sweat patch could be a very useful device for tracking both daily small changes such as the need to hydrate before or after a run.
Rogers pointed out that as the study continues its research, the patch could come to have more sophisticated and advanced usages.
It could come to be used in order to monitor people suffering from various diseases such as diabetes or maybe cystic fibrosis.
It may also come to be utilized so as to track body changes during specialized training.
The patch developed by the team of scientists will be able to stretch and twist in accordance with the body’s movements.
It is able to do so thanks to microfluidics, a capability which captures and screens the small amounts of body fluids which are captured by the skin-like patch.
The body fluids are transferred and moved to various compartments in which they interact with different chemicals.
As the fluids interact, they will change colors which will be used to determine sweat loss and the acidity levels of the perspiration. It will also reflect glucose, lactate, and chloride concentration levels.
Taken together, the various tests will determine different user measurements such as electrolyte loss and hydration levels.
The levels will be registered and displayed with the help of a smartphone that will take a picture and analyze the colors and their meaning.
As mentioned before, Rogers and his team tested the efficiency of the sweat patch through a number of tests.
The tests included 21 healthy people who volunteered to wear the patches on their arms and backs for the tests. As the 21 people were divided into two groups, nine participants were asked to use exercise bikes at the gym.
The remaining 12 members used the patches whilst participating in a long-distance, outdoor bike competition which took place in Tucson.
Results showed that the patches stayed in place even in the more difficult outdoor conditions. They also showed that the patch gathered conclusive results as their data was compared to laboratory results.
The current sweat patches were designed for a several hours long, single usage. The team has stated that it is working on a patch that can be used so as to register results over a longer period of time.
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