Reporting their findings in the journal Nature with a paper titled “Fully integrated wearable sensor arrays for multiplexed in situ perspiration analysis”, the researchers describe plastic-based sensors able to simultaneously and selectively measures sweat metabolites (such as glucose and lactate) and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium ions), as well as the skin temperature to calibrate the response of the sensors, interfaced with a small wearable board-based processing unit. The small board performs signal transduction, conditioning, processing and can then wirelessly transmit the results to a smartphone.
This non-invasive monitoring of multiple biochemicals in sweat in real-time could alert users to health problems such as fatigue, dehydration and dangerously high body temperatures.
The self-sufficient sensor system was made into a wristband and the researchers expect it could be used to measure the detailed sweat profile of human subjects engaged in prolonged indoor and outdoor physical activities, to make a real-time assessment of the physiological state of the wearer.
The prototype processing board was built from many off-the-shelf components to condition the various sensor signals, but these functions could be further integrated into an ASIC, while the number of biochemical being monitored could also be ramped up.
One of the ambitions of this research would be to enable population-level studies of many different metabolites for medical applications. The sensors could also be designed to monitor other bodily fluids.
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