A team of scientists in South Korea has developed a remarkable new body sensor technology that consists of flexible threads that can heal on their own. The fabric-like threads, which are made of carbon fiber electrodes coated with a citric acid-based polymer, can measure electrolyte concentrations within sweat.
The team used their material, which after being broken rejoins and grows together like something out of science fiction, to make a sweat monitoring patch attached to a headband. It can measure potassium and sodium ions with impressive accuracy and the soft sensing component, which is what rubs against the skin, can withstand being damaged, as it reassembles the fibers back together within twenty seconds. All this is made possible thanks to the novel chemistry involved in the hydrogen bonding of the incorporated polymer.
The existing prototype already has wireless connectivity built-in, allowing for measurements to be seen using a smartphone or other device. A volunteer has already tried the device during a nearly hour-long cycling session, with the sensor being regularly cut again and again during the exercise routine.
Check out this video from the American Chemical Society that demonstrates the new technology:
Study in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces: Extremely Fast Self-Healable Bio-Based Supramolecular Polymer for Wearable Real-Time Sweat-Monitoring Sensor