Wearable biosensors tell vital information in sweat

A new wearable, non-invasive biosensor provides continuous, real-time monitoring of analytes in sweat. (Credit: UC Berkeley)

Researchers in Berkeley developed a new wearable biosensor with fully integrated electronic system that can provide continuous, non-invasive detection of analytes in sweat.

This work bridged the technological gap between signal transduction, conditioning, processing and wireless transmission in wearable biosensors. The system can simultaneously and selectively measures multiple sweat biochemicals, and wirelessly transmits the processed data to a smartphone.

“Human sweat contains physiologically rich information, thus making it an attractive body fluid for non-invasive wearable sensors,” said Ali Javey, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences. “However, sweat is complex and it is necessary to measure multiple targets to extract meaningful information about your state of health. In this regard, we have developed a fully integrated system that simultaneously and selectively measures multiple sweat analytes, and wirelessly transmits the processed data to a smartphone. Our work presents a technology platform for sweat-based health monitors.”

“We can easily shrink this device by integrating all the circuit functionalities into a single chip,” said Emaminejad. “The number of biochemicals we target can also be ramped up so we can measure a lot of things at once. That makes large-scale clinical studies possible, which will help us better understand athletic performance and physiological responses to exercise.”

The research team also developed a prototype for the technology system with five sensors packing onto a flexible circuit board. The sensors measure several parameters, including the metabolites glucose and lactate, the electrolytes sodium and potassium, and skin temperature.

This novel wearable, non-invasive technology platform has shown great potential to be used for measuring metabolite and electrolyte levels of healthy persons and alerting people to health problems such as fatigue, dehydration and dangerously high body temperatures.

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