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Using A Sweat Monitor To Assess Health


Fitbit and the like are increasingly popular, monitoring heart rate and other signs to give an interpretation about a person’s health. More important information, however, could be garnered from an analysis of sweat and a sweat monitor placed on a person’s wrist could be just the device to capture and interpret such information.

Biomedical scientists have engineered a fully integrated sensor system designed to record and assess metabolites and electrolytes contained in sweat. The sensor can wirelessly transfer data to a smart phone or computer. The device resembles a transparent, flexible bandage.

Sweat Monitor

The flexible sensor can be made into “smart” wristband or a headband that provides nonstop, real-time analysis of the chemicals in persons sweat. (Credit: Photo by Wei Gao/UC Berkeley)

The device was invented by Professor Ali Javey, of University of California, Berkeley.

The device is composed of flexible sensors and a flexible circuit board, which adheres to the skin. The types of information capture includes data relating to dehydration, fatigue, and high body temperatures. As a non-invasive test, the application has a key medical potential. It could also be of interest to athletes and their trainers, as well as the general public.

Speaking with Biotechnology.com, Professor Javey stated:

“Sweat is complex and it is necessary to measure multiple targets to extract meaningful information about your state of health.”

Linking this to his novel device, he added:

“In this regard, we have developed a fully integrated system that simultaneously and selectively measures multiple sweat analytes.”

The device is described in a paper published in the science journal Nature. The paper is titled “Fully integrated wearable sensor arrays for multiplexed in situ perspiration analysis.”

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.