The device, which monitors health using human sweat, was developed by scientists from Penn State and Xiangtan University. Human sweat contains many biomarkers such as pH and glucose, which will be a really good indicator of disease progression or diagnosis.
The device will be placed on a patch placed on the skin near the sweat glands. It consists of a small vial containing multiple chambers that has a hydrophobic – water-repelling – valve near a silicone rubber opening. The channel has a hydrophilic coating – attracting water – making it easier to collect sweat. Unlike other devices that require two holes, a single hole reduces the amount of evaporation, leading to longer storage time for later analysis.
On-site analysis can be performed using a colorimetric method in which a color-coded analyte is placed in different chambers. This sensitive chemical reacts to pH or glucose levels and can be read with the naked eye or by taking a photo with a smartphone. Additionally, scientists can analyze sweat at different time points using different chambers – called chrono-sampling.
How can the device be used?
The device will be of interest to the medical industry, and especially in athletics, where it could be used to monitor overheating or to regulate exercise levels for optimal performance. The device may have one chamber color-coded for pH, another for glucose, and a third for sodium, all of which are markers of disease.
An article about the device was published in the journal Lab on a Chip.