Soft, Microfluidic 'Lab on the Skin' Can Analyze Sweat

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Soft, Microfluidic 'Lab on the Skin' Can Analyze Sweat
Soft, Microfluidic 'Lab on the Skin' Can Analyze Sweat

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A flexible device that adheres to the skin can analyze sweat and send the results to a smartphone, offering insight into hydration and electrolyte status, according to research published in the Nov. 23 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

John A. Rogers, Ph.D., of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues tested the flexible microfluidic device on two groups of cyclists.

As the cyclists exercise, their sweat reacts with chemical reagents in the patch, resulting in visible color changes. The data is collected using colorimetric biochemical assays and employing smartphone image capture analysis. The researchers said that the device gave accurate accounts of the pH of sweat and concentrations of glucose, chloride, and lactate. The device is disposable, designed to be used once for a few hours while attached to the skin of the forearm or back.

"The intimate skin interface created by this wearable, skin-like microfluidic system enables new measurement capabilities not possible with the kinds of absorbent pads and sponges currently used in sweat collection," Rogers said in a university news release. "Sweat is a rich, chemical broth containing a number of important chemical compounds with physiological health information. By expanding our previously developed 'epidermal' electronics platform to include a complex network of microfluidic channels and storage reservoirs, we now can perform biochemical analysis of this important biofluid."

L'Oréal partially funded the study.

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