Stanford researchers have developed a new wearable that uses sweat to measure wearer's cortisol levels. Cortisol, a vital hormone associated with stress, can be tested using existing methods, but it will take several days for the results. Stanford's creation eliminates this long wait and delivers important stress hormone numbers when they matter most.
The project was led by material scientist Alberto Salleo at Stanford University. According to the team, the team has created a stretchy wearable patch that can be applied directly to the patient's skin, absorbs sweat and measures the cortisol level. This method provides continuous monitoring that is non-invasive.
This wearable works by passive perspiration transporting sweat of the wearer in a small reservoir covered with a cortisol sensitive membrane. The biggest requirement is that the wearer produce enough sweat that it glitters, which means he probably has to go to the sauna or the gym for the monitoring to work.
The portable device is promising for various medical conditions involving cortisol, which are difficult to treat due to the delay in measuring cortisol levels. Continuous monitoring of cortisol levels could open the door to more effective medical treatments.
A prototype of the device "seems to work", as the researchers intended, according to the university, although additional work could improve accuracy and reliability. In addition, the team can create a reusable patch that can be applied multiple times. the prototype itself indicates that it could be used repeatedly as long as it was not soaked.