The University of Cincinnati has developed a sweat sensor patch that will help detect many biomarkers, making health tracking easier and more efficient. The patch itself, which looks like a Band-Aid, uses paper microfluidics to detect these biomarkers in the sweat. Some of these biomarkers include electrolytes, metabolites, proteins, small molecules, amino acids, which can all indicate various states of the physical body. Interestingly enough, the technology was originally used for home pregnancy tests.
The paper in the patch works by wicking away the sweat in a tree-like pattern (think of the root pattern in a tree) maximizing the overall reach of the patch. Then, using a sodium sensor, voltage meter, communications antenna, microfluidics and a controller chip (all powered by a connecting smartphone) the patch relays all that information back to the connected phone.
With the information that the patch can detect, athletes will be able to be on top of their health at all times, avoiding cramps that can bring down a performance at crucial points during a game. On the flip side, these kinds of patches could have huge benefits for those afflicted by ongoing medical conditions such as diabetes. Instead of having to prick a finger to check glucose levels, the patch would be able to do the same.
More extensive human testing will continue throughout the rest of the year, with pilot testing on college athletes beginning as soon as the beginning of next year.