Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sweat-inducing Sensor Could Make Taking Blood Samples Obsolete

TheMerkle Sweat-inducing Sensor

Wearable technology comes in many different shapes and sizes. While most people would wear this technology for comfort or self tracking, other manufacturers are looking to collect sensitive body vitals. A new device of this kind has been created, which stimulates sweat glands on a small patch of skin. An intriguing solution that can provide valuable insights into your personal health.

New Medical Sensor Collects Your Sweat

Scientists have been using medical sensors to collect and sample sweat. Collecting this fluid allows them to analyze a patient’s body far more thoroughly than most other methods ever could. Analyzing, sweat can often yield some results similar to those obtained by collecting blood, but without the invasive procedure attached to it.

The one problem in all of this is making people sweat. Other than cardio exercises or going for a few sprints, there is no way to “stimulate” sweat glands properly. That has now changed, thanks to a new prototype product development by researchers. This new sensor is the size of a regular band-aid, and can stimulate sweat glands on a small patch of skin. This means it can collect sweat from a small part of your body without making the wearer exert themselves physically. It is an ideal solution for lazy people who still want to check up on their health.

This small sensor uses a micro current -0.2mA- to send a carbachol chemical into the upper layer of the user’s skin. That is all there is to it before the sensor can start measuring the electrolytes in the sweat. It is a very practical solution to gather important data from one’s body without having to get blood work done. Monitoring blood continuously is both impractical and impossible to do, whereas one can easily stimulate sweat glands multiple times throughout the day without side effects.

Sweat has a much later “expiration date” when it comes to monitoring for vitals. The scientists have determined the averages with a sample can provide them with valuable information for up to five hours after it has been collected. That is quite a significant development. For any type of health monitoring situation that requires continuous monitoring, collecting sweat seems to be the preferable option right now

This sensor may become viable a lot sooner than most people anticipate. Eccrine Systems are the company responsible for refining and commercializing the sweat-inducing sensor, and they are working on it feverishly now. The company is co-founded by one of the researchers responsible for generating this solution in the first place. This is a very interesting concept that may change the way we think of healthcare altogether.

For the time being, it remains to be seen when these sensors will become commercially viable. It is definitely a solution that will make the healthcare sector a lot more efficient. Sweat samples will not replace blood work anytime soon, but they can be useful in their own regard. It will be interesting to see how this new sweat-inducing sensor will affect the way we conduct regular health checkups. It is not unlikely the sensor may be embedded within consumer electronics -like a fit bit- in the future.

from The Merkle