Scientists developed the sweat band that will keep track of your health as you exercise, gathering data from your bodily fluid. Sweat is rich in physiological information and can be an excellent source that monitors our health. And, apparently, there might be a way to analyze it in real time and send that information to your phone.
We are entering an age where fitness trackers are in full bloom. So far, a good majority of them are focusing on heartbeats that determine the user’s status during the day. However, sweat may also be an important source.
It will measure dehydration levels, muscle fatigue, and temperature
Researchers from the University of Berkeley have designed a flexible sensor system that can be easily worn on a headband or wristband that analyzes the content of your sweat. And, implicitly, it will offer valuable information on the user’s health directly through the standard app. The technology could go far past data such as heart rate, but could actually measure dehydration, muscle fatigue, and body temperature.
The first prototype implies five sensors placed on a flexible circuit board. The sensors will measure glucose, lactate, sodium, potassium, and skin temperature. According to lead researcher, Ali Javey, a professor of electrical engineering at the university, “sweat is complex” and there is a need to examine multiple targets for an accurate reading. For example, body temperature is crucial in determining accurate data.
They recruited participants to the study to wear the bands packed with the sensors and the chipset while performing exercises of different intensity. Ranging from cycling to jogging and leisure walks, the data was examined and then sent directly to an app. This allowed for the technology to both track the key chemicals in real time and interpret the information it gathered. By understanding the concentration of each one, the system took into account the body temperature, and was able to assess the participants’ physical state.
The future of smart fitness trackers?
The sensors are paired with a wireless printed circuit board and the regular silicon. The researchers created over ten different circuit chips that received the information given by the sensors, amplified the signal, interpreted, and then sent all the data to the smartphone app. That means that a new “smart gadget” could be born out of their innovating tech. Furthermore, researchers also claimed that they could shrink the device by integrating all the functions in just one chipset.
So, the final product would actually be smaller than the prototype. However, while Javey hopes that the technology could be used by day-to-day joggers or anyone else, it could potentially have several more applications. It could be useful to astronauts and patients suffering from various illnesses or injuries. In time, they could even make adjustments so the device could read a whole other slew of chemicals and offer more information.
However, it will certainly be a while before fitness trackers will implement the technology. There’s need for more testing and more research to ascertain if certain skin microbes could skew the data. It is exciting though that the future will likely offer us more information about our own health after a quick jog.
Image source: abc.net.au