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Researchers develop bio-integrated lab for sweat analysis

Low-cost wearable electronic device collects and analyzes sweat for health monitoring

A Northwestern University research team has developed a first-of-its-kind soft, flexible microfluidic device that easily adheres to the skin and measures the wearer’s sweat to show how his or her body is responding to exercise.

A little larger than a quarter and about the same thickness, the simple, low-cost device analyzes key biomarkers to help a person decide quickly if any adjustments, such as drinking more water or replenishing electrolytes, need to be made or if something is medically awry. 

Designed for one-time use of a few hours, the device, placed directly on the skin of the forearm or back, even detects the presence of a biomarker for cystic fibrosis. In the future, it may be more broadly used for disease diagnosis. 

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The microfluidic device, available in a number of designs, can be made to measure a variety of biometrics.

Photo credit for all images: Northwestern University

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