Scientists have developed a highly elastic, bandage-like equipment that collects an individual’s biometrics in water. The sweat sensor bandage carries holes underneath for the sweat to penetrate, which the tiny channels then pass to chambers. Every chamber plays a role of its own individual small test lab, wherein one chamber can monitor sweat loss, another for fluid levels, and concentration of chloride, etc.
According to materials scientist John Rogers, member of the Northwestern University research group behind this invention, sweat glands can transfer the sweat via the tiny channels. With the passage of time, the excretions blend and react with the chemical present in the microchannels embedded on the device, which further leads to change in the color of the fluid. For example, when the device channels get full, the sweat blends with food dye present in bending channel and changes to blue color, which indicates the amount of sweat lost by the wearer. Whereas, another chamber changes color on losing electrolytes, going to dark red from light pink, and so on.
Rogers called the device a kind of time-dynamic skin tattoo, and mentioned that it becomes quite exciting for the user because the device shows what’s exactly is happening with his body chemistry clearly on the device.
The waterproof bandage doesn’t rely on batteries as it gets powered-up by the radio waves from the surrounding environment. The data collected by the device can be shifted to a smartphone with the help of near-field communications. The user can click a picture of the bandage to analyze the information using an app. This could tell when an individual is running short of electrolytes or fluids, and when he should consider a refill.
The researchers have created the patch primarily for water sports participants, including swimmers, triathletes, polo players, etc. They said that every athlete has different metabolism, thus, sweat monitoring can help trainers, athletes, and doctors get a better idea about the performance of an individual while competing. As per Rogers, a lot of the chemistry taking place in the body appears in the sweat.