New flexible skin patch biosensor to measure alcohol levels

Credit: University of California, San Diego

Researchers from University of California San Diego recently developed a new flexible wearable biosensor to monitor body alcohol levels from sweats.

The device consists of a temporary tattoo and a portable flexible electronic circuit board. The tattoo has screen-printed electrodes and a small hydrogel patch containing pilocarpine, a drug that passes through the skin and induces sweat. When sweat comes into contact with an electrode, alcohol oxidase, an enzyme coated on electrode, selectively reacts with alcohol and electrochemical signals can be detected during the process. A printed flexible electronic circuit board is connected to the tattoo by a magnet. The circuit board powers the tattoo and can send the data wirelessly to a mobile device.

“What’s also innovative about this technology is that the wearer doesn’t need to be exercising or sweating already. The user can put on the patch and within a few minutes get a reading that’s well correlated to his or her blood alcohol concentration. Such a device hasn’t been available until now,” Said Patrick Mercier, co-director of Center for Wearable Sensors.

The device can be worn on the skin and could be used by doctors and police officers for continuous, non-invasive and real-time monitoring of blood alcohol content.

More information can be found at: University of California, San Diego.
Reference: Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-Based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System.

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