New gadget processes perspiration

Flexible device sticks to your skin as it analyzes your sweat, then sends the data straight to your smartphone.
No point in letting that sweat go to waste—it's a chemical-rich broth that can be analyzed by wearable technology. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
No point in letting that sweat go to waste—it’s a chemical-rich broth that can be analyzed by wearable technology. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

How much are you really sweating when you exercise? You may not need to wring yourself dry to find out.

Researchers say they’ve developed a flexible device that sticks to the skin, analyzes your sweat and sends the results to your smartphone.

That’s not all. Researchers say the device—about the size of a quarter—offers insight into whether you need to drink more water or down an energy drink to boost electrolyte levels.

“The intimate skin interface created by this wearable, skin-like … system enables new measurement capabilities not possible with the kinds of absorbent pads and sponges currently used in sweat collection,” said John Rogers, lead author of a study reporting development of the “lab on the skin.”

Rogers is a professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering in Evanston, Illinois.

The device is disposable, designed to be used once for a few hours while attached to the skin of the forearm or back.

Why bother analyzing sweat?

Because, Rogers said in a university news release, it’s “a rich, chemical broth containing a number of important chemical compounds with physiological health information.”

Researchers tested the device on two groups of cyclists and report their findings Nov. 23 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

They said the device gave accurate accounts of the acidity of sweat and concentrations of glucose, chloride and lactate.

To get the data, a user takes a smartphone photo of the device. An app then analyzes that photo and displays the information.

SOURCES: Northwestern University, press release, Nov. 23, 2016; Science Translational Medicine, Nov. 23, 2016

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
HEALTHDAY_Web_small2

Did you enjoy this post?

SHARE IT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*