Dehydration is so dangerous that in the developing world it is one of the most prevalent causes of mortality in young children. The summer heat can be particularly brutal, but preventing dehydration is fairly easy as long as parents and caretakers are aware that a child needs to be attended to. To help detect that a child may be dehydrated, researchers at ETH Zurich university in Switzerland have developed a relatively cheap and easy to use system that uses electrical impedance to measure changes in hydration.
The product consists of two identical devices that are wrapped around the arm and leg of the child to be monitored. The devices deliver an unnoticeable electric current into the skin and measure the resistance that the body poses to this current.
The system, called AMBICA (Accurate Model for Bio-Composition Analysis), features red and green LEDs on the devices strapped to the arm and leg that change color depending on which way the hydration levels are moving. The color indicators are easy to read and understand, and being very prominent naturally draw attention from caretakers.
The prototype devices themselves are reusable, save for the electrodes that make contact with the skin, and because they’re made of common and easily available materials the cost of an AMBICA system comes out to around $100. The price can certainly be pushed lower thanks to large scale manufacturing.
The ETH Zurich team hopes to also integrate the system into an online tracking mechanism that will be able to notice that children in certain geographic areas are succumbing to dehydration at abnormal rates. This would help local healthcare organizations to help prevent dehydration even in children that are not wearing a monitoring system.
Via: ETH Zurich…