Traditional wearable devices can monitor step count, heart rate, blood pressure, and even blood glucose. However, these devices have limited functionality and have issues around accuracy, calibration, and reliability. A team of scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden wants to change all that. So, they’ve developed multi-purpose electrochemical sensors to take measurements of blood and sweat.
These sensors can be incorporated into skin-patches, woven into clothes, deployed as microneedles, or even integrated with existing sensors such as accelerometers and ECG, to provide a broad-spectrum overview of important physical parameters, reports New Atlas.
“Both technology platforms can be used in medical contexts at home or during athletic activity. They could also be tools in hospitals and clinics,” says Gaston Crespo, an Associate Professor in the Division of Applied Physical Chemistry at KTH.
What sets these sensors apart from traditional sensors is that these multi-purpose sensors are able to measure a wide range of important biochemical compounds such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, ammonium, glucose, uric acid, as well as amino acids like glycine. These sensors can also detect a range of problems. Such as dehydration, electrolyte balance, and kidney problems.
“Kidney problems, in particular, are associated with the secretion of potassium ions for example and creatinine level in the blood, which the technology can identify,” says Crespo.
During intense physical exertion, lactic acid can build up in your bloodstream faster than you can burn it off and this is something the sensors can continuously monitor during the course of training.
“The sensors can also measure how stressed a person is, and their attentiveness,” Crespo said.