Users wearing the flexible sensor array can run and move freely while the chemicals in their sweat are measured and analysed. The resulting data, which is transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device, can be used to help assess and monitor a user's state of health. © Image by Der-Hsien Lien and Hiroki Ota, UC Berkeley
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Sweat monitor offers great potential for multisport athletes

A sweat monitor that has the potential to be worn in races has been developed by scientists

A sweat monitor that can continuously check multiple biochemicals in sweat has been developed by scientists could offer great benefits to triathletes, particularly long-distance athletes competing in hot climates.

For in the future athletes could potentially be able to wear devices that would alert them to health problems such as fatigue, dehydration and dangerously high body temperatures. 

>>> Sweat testing for athletes: is it worth it?

"Human sweat contains physiologically rich information, thus making it an attractive body fluid for non-invasive wearable sensors," said co-author Ali Javey, of University of California, Berkeley.

"However, sweat is complex and it is necessary to measure multiple targets to extract meaningful information about your state of health. In this regard, we have developed a fully integrated system that simultaneously and selectively measures multiple sweat analytes, and wirelessly transmits the processed data to a smartphone. Our work presents a technology platform for sweat-based health monitors."

 Javey and his team consulted exercise physiologist George Brooks, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology.

"Having a wearable sweat sensor is really incredible because the metabolites and electrolytes measured by the Javey device are vitally important for the health and well-being of an individual," said Brooks.

The prototype developed by Javey and his research team packs five sensors onto a flexible circuit board. The sensors measure the metabolites glucose and lactate, the electrolytes sodium and potassium, and skin temperature.

"The integrated system allows us to use the measured skin temperature to calibrate and adjust the readings of other sensors in real time," said Gao. "This is important because the response of glucose and lactate sensors can be greatly influenced by temperature."

The researchers developed an app to sync the data from the sensors to mobile phones, and fitted the device onto "smart" wristbands and headbands.

"We can easily shrink this device by integrating all the circuit functionalities into a single chip," said co-author Sam Emaminejad.

 "The number of biochemicals we target can also be ramped up so we can measure a lot of things at once. That makes large-scale clinical studies possible, which will help us better understand athletic performance and physiological

You can get your sweat analysed at the National Triathlon Show (April 8-10) with Precision Hydration 

Related: 

Key facts: hydration

Heat training: What are benefits of using a heated-room for training?

Mirinda Carfrae on coping with the heat in long-distance triathlons


 
 

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