Researchers at the University of Glasgow, UK have created a wearable sensor that is capable of measuring sweat pH, which could help patients with chronic conditions avoid the need for finger-prick blood tests.
The flexible sensor, which measures around 10×10 mm can stretch with natural movements and elongate by up to 53% without compromising its performance or losing contact with the skin. “Human sweat contains much of the same physiological information that blood does, and its use in diagnostic systems has the significant advantage of not needing to break the skin in order to administer tests.” said Prof Ravinder Dahiya, project lead and Head of the Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) group at the University of Glasgow.
The sweat-sensing patch’s inventors plan to expand the capabilities of the system to include sensors that can measure glucose, ammonia and urea, with the target of a comprehensive diagnostic system contained in a patch the size of postage stamp.
The system’s creators cite the sensor’s flexibility and simplicity as a significant breakthrough: no adhesive is required, eliminating possible irritation, and the integration of a near field RFID transmitter removes the need for bulky and power-hungry infrastructure that would be needed for Bluetooth interfacing. The system can transmit data without external power to a smartphone app called “SenseAble,” also developed by the team of researchers.
The innovative system is described in a recent publication in the Journal of Biosensors and Bioelectronics.
Image source: Journal of Biosensors and Bioelectronics