Home Uncategorized This adhesive patch absorbs and analyses your sweat to monitor your health

This adhesive patch absorbs and analyses your sweat to monitor your health

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A collaboration between scientists from University of Cincinnati and US
Air Force Research Laboratory, under the leadership of Professor Jason
Heikenfeld (University of Cincinnati), has come up with a system that is
capable of gathering information from user’s body and then transmitting
it to a smartphone in real-time without employing any invasive
approach. The gadget that they have come up with is basically similar to
a Band-Aid and is just like a patch.

This patch is adhesive in nature and quite flexible while sporting an
electronic circuit, controller chip, microfluidic paper based sweat
sampling system and a communications antenna. The aforementioned paper
works by wicking tiny quantities of sweat from the skin using sensors
similar to a tree root, thus allowing to increase the sampling area as
much as possible.

To ensure that the sweat maintains its flow through the paper for the
required amount of time rather than simply saturating it, a hydrogel
that has characteristics of being a super-absorbent has been added to
the patch, allowing the patch to draw in and then accumulate the
perspiration sample. This retention is maintained even after hours of
collecting sweat and, reportedly, the gel only swells by 2-3 millimeters
even after a number of hours.

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Now to the important question; where does it draw the power from? Well,
it works like a passive RFID tag and draws the power from a nearby
smartphone’s signal. When the smartphone is in the range of the patch,
it starts working by monitoring and calculating ion concentrations of
given biomarkers that are in the sweat. 
The prototype currently
available has been created so that it is capable of measuring sodium and
chloride concentrations while the information available implies that
the future versions shall be able to measure electrolytes, proteins,
amino acids, small molecules and metabolites.

The data is transmitted to the accompanying app on a smartphone
wirelessly and once the biomarker ion has been analyzed, it becomes
possible to find out the physical state of the patient. The future
applications so far include keeping tabs on athletes’ health to make
sure they don’t cramp up and to also monitor young babies without using
any invasive technique. 
Human trials are scheduled to start later this year while a second generation patch has been almost finalized, which will communicate with the smartphone via Bluetooth.

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