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Wearable Patch Accurately and Continuously Measures Trace Perspiration for Disease Detection

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 Jul 2024

Maintaining the correct balance of water in the body is crucial for survival. While sweat is a vital indicator of both physical and mental health, current wearable technologies are limited to monitoring only large volumes of sweat. Researchers have now developed a state-of-the-art wearable device that can accurately and continuously measure small, trace amounts of sweat. According to the research published in the journal Advanced Science, this device excels at tracking sweat levels not only during physical activity but also at rest. Its uses could significantly impact areas beyond just monitoring dehydration from exercise or heat, including everyday health management and disease diagnosis.

The lightweight (1 g), thin (1-mm thick) wearable patch developed by researchers at University of Tsukuba (Tsukuba, Japan) is attachable to the skin. It can precisely measure small quantities of insensible perspiration, or the water vapor that evaporates from the body surface even during rest. The patch features channels filled with sponges made from a superhydrophilic polymer, mimicking the moisture absorption mechanisms seen in plants, which enhances its ability to monitor minute amounts of sweat efficiently. Furthermore, the sweat captured in these channels is mixed with a food dye, providing a visual method to assess the volume and rate of sweat, thereby indicating hydration levels.

Image: The state-of-the-art wearable device is capable of precisely and continuously measuring trace perspiration amounts (Photo courtesy of University of Tsukuba)
Image: The state-of-the-art wearable device is capable of precisely and continuously measuring trace perspiration amounts (Photo courtesy of University of Tsukuba)

Additionally, the patch includes sensors that continually measure the pH levels and chemical components like sodium, potassium, and glucose ions, allowing for the real-time tracking of changes in these elements. Testing the patch on various body parts during routine daily activities has proven its effectiveness and reliability in measurements. This innovative wearable patch offers vast potential in several fields including managing dehydration, monitoring stress and emotional states, detecting diseases, optimizing athletic performance, and more. With its personalized application, this device is set to significantly advance the field of personalized medicine.

Related Links:
University of Tsukuba

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