Smartphone diagnostic tool switches out blood for sweat in patient testing

A group of University of Cincinnati scientists are developing a new patch wearable device that taps sweat, rather than blood, for diagnosing disease, measuring body fluids and predicting issues such as muscle injury.

The device incorporates a smartphone, paper microfluidics, a sodium sensor, communications antenna, voltage meter and a controller chip, according to an article at IEEE Spectrum. An extensive human trial is on schedule to begin by year's end, and the lead researcher expects to incorporate additional sensors for detecting beyond sodium and chloride.

"Researchers have understood the richness of the information carried in sweat for some 50 years, but they have been unable to take advantage of it because of the difficulty of collecting, transporting, and analyzing the samples," writes Jason Heikenfeld, a professor of electrical engineering and director of the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati. "Ultimately, sweat-sensing patches will measure multiple electrolytes, metabolites, and other biomarkers at the same time." Article