The sensor can measure pH, temperature and amounts of metabolism-related molecules such as glucose, lactate and cholesterol, as well as drugs, can be operated for long periods of time, according to EPFL.
The one-centimeter square device contains three main components: a circuit with six sensors, a control unit that analyses incoming signals, and a radio transmission module. It also has an induction coil that draws power from an external battery attached to the skin by a patch. A plaster holds the battery, the coil and a Bluetooth module used to send results to a mobile phone.
The group of electrochemical sensors works with or without enzymes, which means the device can react to a wide range of compounds, and it can do so for several days or even weeks.
The chip was successfully tested in vivo on mice at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, where researchers were able to constantly monitor glucose and paracetamol levels without a wire tracker getting in the way of the animals’ daily activities. Clinical tests on humans could take place in three to five years.