Courtesy of Bijendra Maskey / Sunchon National University
If you want to measure your heart rate or pace during exercise, use a fitness tracker. But what if you want a device to tell you when to drink more water or when to grab a sports drink?
University of California scientists at Berkeley designed a patch to measure sodium in sweat and determine sweat. Rate directly from the skin. Their findings on the effectiveness of their invention were published on Friday in the journal Science Advances .
Sweat is easy to stimulate and has a rich chemical composition that makes it an ideal body fluid for measuring health and sports performance, explains Mallika Bariya, an engineer at the University of California at Berkeley and one of the authors of the study.
Your findings suggest that knowing your sweat rate and sweat composition might help you adjust or help your drink after exercise. Decide how much of it you need to drink to replenish and replenish your body. "That's a clear statement in the short term," says John Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University, who is developing his own welding patch with sports drink company Gatorade. Rogers was not involved in the study.
The patch developed by the Berkeley scientists collects sweat on the skin surface and analyzes it in real time using a custom printed circuit board that wirelessly transfers the collected data to a mobile phone. Sweat enters the device via a well that contains sensors that can measure sodium, potassium, and glucose. This well flows into two spiral tubules that measure the rate of sweat.
"[The patch] is flexible, it adapts to your skin and prevents sweat from leaking or evaporating, so we can hold sweat back for analysis," says Bariya.
Courtesy of Antti Veijola / VTT Technical Research Center in Finland
The scientists measured the sodium concentration in the sweat and the sweat rate of three subjects exercising on a stationary bike for up to 30 minutes.
The subjects had spots on forehead, forearm, forearm and back. Scientists were able to simultaneously monitor their sodium sweat concentrations and their sweat rate. They sweat the quickest in the forehead, which means that a patch bandage is a good way to measure fluid loss and monitor hydration status in the future.
According to Rogers, such a patch could have real benefits for athletes.
"Dehydration and excessive electrolyte loss can increase the risk of injury," says Rogers. "Proper hydration and electrolyte balance are very, very important," he says.
A patch of this type could also measure glucose, although it is not clear if sweat glucose is as meaningful as blood glucose.
Rogers says that the glucose concentration in sweat is about 100 times lower than the glucose concentration in the blood. "Rogers says that scientists will one day be able to However, it may require a more sophisticated technology.
Diabetics are not the only ones who would benefit from needle-free testing to benefit from this.
"Many high-performance athletics tests are done on blood," says Juan Hinestroza, an associate professor of fiber science and director of the textile nanotechnology laboratory at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study, which may include testing lactate levels to measure the blood and oxygen flux in the body.
Bariya wants the device fit to measure other important to health sweat molecules, such. B. other electrolytes such as calcium and chloride. Rogers believes the patch could also measure heavy metals like lead and medications such as stimulants or depressants.
One of the biggest challenges, Bariya says, is to understand what sweat can tell us. Analysis is useful. "Once they discover how sweat can help monitor health, they would be willing to make the device commercially available." We can make this [patch] very quickly and very easily and evenly, and we want to reach a point where we can She says. "
Bariya says that the patch is suitable for medical purposes integrated into clothing to be more discreet Hinestroza agrees." I see great potential when the same sensors are sometime made in textiles "Lycra or yoga pants, for example, are perfect because they stay in permanent contact with your skin for a long time."
He explains that you may be able to get a more accurate reading when the patch is clothed with lactate and other molecules without pricking the finger.
Luisa Torres is an AAAS-Fe llow for mass media at the scientific desk of the NPR. She is on Twitter @luisatorresduq .