Wearable Sweatband Health Monitor

March 12th, 2016 at 3:03 pm

wearable techTechnology is a double-edged sword. If used with good intentions, technology has many different ways to help make human lives easier, more convenient and better. Used the other way around and it can be quite destructive. It is a good thing that researchers today are trying to use technology for the betterment of mankind. At the health front, researchers are finding ways to help people monitor and keep track of their health. One of the more promising ones include researchers developing a wearable sweatband health monitor for everyday use.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley has developed a noninvasive set of wearable sensors that keep track of a person’s health by reading multiple biochemicals in sweat. The device can be worn as headbands or wristbands and can keep track of the different sweat analytes  and metabolites and can wirelessly transmit the processed information into a smartphone. According to Ali Javey, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and a principal author of the study, “Human sweat contains physiologically rich information, thus making it an attractive body fluid for noninvasive wearable sensors. However, sweat is complex and it is necessary to measure multiple targets to extract meaningful information about your state of health.”

One of the most common ways of checking human physiology is by getting blood samples to measure certain chemicals or elements inside the body that may provide a clue regarding its condition. But with the newly developed set of wearable sensors, patients may no longer need to be concerned about syringes and needles when they want themselves tested. This prototype device can help eliminate those concerns by measuring certain elements and chemicals from sweat instead.

The prototype device features five different sensors placed on a flexible circuit board. The sensors are able to measure the skin temperature, the metabolites glucose and lactate as well as the electrolytes  like sodium and potassium from perspiration. The device also comes with other circuit chips that process the data taken by the sensors, adjusting for temeprature changes and then transmit the resulting information to a smartphone. The researchers then placed the sensors into wristbands and headbands.

In order to test the device out, the researchers used dozens of volunteers to undergo various indoor and outdoor exercises and took out their readings. Eventually, development of the device will enable more sensors to be used and keep track of more biochemicals so that it will be able to measure  a lot of other things at the same time. The noninvasive nature of measuring and gathering health information makes it an interesting option for future developments in health or medical screening.

Source: UC Berkeley


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