Hydration monitoring is all set to become a huge deal for athletes and amateurs alike - when they eventually hit the market. There is the LVL, but that has been delayed and it's unclear what the situation is there. So what's a person interested in hydration monitoring to do?
Enter Gatorade, who has teamed up with Dr. John Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at Northwestern, to create a sweat-reading hydration wearable, reports Twice. The wearable is a smart patch that's about the size of a quarter and slaps onto your body.
Your sweat flows through the patch's sensors, with food dye being released to indicate the level of chloride in your perspiration. This will allow you to check up on both your level of dehydration and chloride with a simple glance. If you're an athlete, you can even take a picture and send it off to get a more detailed analysis.
The patch has been in testing with a number of pro and college teams, including the Seattle Mariners and Northwestern's swim team. That's right, the patch can be worn by swimmers while swimming. And while Gatorade has a benefit to helping develop a patch that can detect dehydration (so they can quickly administer them some Gatorade), the patch can also be used for more.
It's also being used in hospitals to test infants for cystic fibrosis, patients who are undergoing stroke rehabilitation, as their body begins to sweat differently, and those who are suffering from a kidney malfunction. However, all these use cases are currently in testing. The patch was mainly developed for sport and fitness.
Rogers and his startup company, Epicore Biosystems, are working with Gatorade on making the patch available widely at retail. He tells Twice that the sports beverage company has worked out a manufacturing flow.
While the patch can be theoretically used for several days if you can sterilize it, Gatorade and Rogers seem to be leaning toward selling it as a one-time use patch. There's no official timetable yet, but Rogers expects it to hit retail in the next year or two.