Needle pricks not your thing? A team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, is developing wearable skin sensors that can detect what’s in your sweat.
They hope that one day, monitoring perspiration could bypass the need for more invasive procedures like blood draws, and provide real-time updates on health problems such as dehydration or fatigue.
In a paper published in Science Advances, the team describes a new sensor design that can be rapidly manufactured using a “roll-to-roll” processing technique that essentially prints the sensors onto a sheet of plastic like words on a newspaper.
They used the sensors to monitor the sweat rate, and the electrolytes and metabolites in sweat, from volunteers who were exercising, and others who were experiencing chemically induced perspiration.
“The goal of the project is not just to make the sensors but start to do many subject studies and see what sweat tells us — I always say ‘decoding’ sweat composition,” said Ali Javey, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley and senior author on the paper.
“For that we need sensors that are reliable, reproducible, and that we can fabricate to scale so that we can put multiple sensors in different spots of the body and put them on many subjects,” said Javey, who also serves as a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Credit: “Wearable sensors detect what’s in your sweat”, Kara Manke, UC Berkeley, Thechnology & Engineering