New sweat sensing patch will measure stress, metabolism and immune responses

Stanford University is interested in sweat wearables
Cortisol sensor patch can analyse sweat
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Adding more sensors into fitness and health tech is kind of the Holy Grail of wearables right now, and it seems sweat could be the next big metric.

A paper from Stanford University has outlined a wearable sweat sensor, which measures the ingredients of your perspiration. It’s a stretchy patch that can measure cortisol from within your sweat.

Levels of cortisol can indicate the proper functioning of pituitary and adrenal glands, and also provide insights into emotional stress, blood pressure, metabolism, immune response and even memory formation.

The sensor takes the form of a wearable, stretchy patch which sticks to the body. The idea is that the person exercises enough to “sweat enough to glisten" and then applies the patch. The membrane will let the salt found in sweat pass through, but blocks, collects and measures the cortisol.

“We are particularly interested in sweat sensing, because it offers noninvasive and continuous monitoring of various biomarkers for a range of physiological conditions,” said Onur Parlak, the paper's author.

“This offers a novel approach for the early detection of various diseases and evaluation of sports performance,” he continued.

The next challenge for the team is to make the patch reusable – which is a challenge to any stick-on sensor.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen wearables aimed at monitoring sweat. The University of Pennsylvania has used graphene, a material considered to be "the best sensor material in existence", to create the SweatSmart by GraphWear. Which we wrote about back in 2016.

And companies such as LVL and Halo Wearables have also been looking at sweat as a measure of hydration. The Halo Edge analyses your sweat to indicate hydration levels.

New sweat sensing patch will measure stress, metabolism and immune responses