Biomarker sensors have gained increasing popularity over the past years with the rising demand for smart devices such as Fitbit, which enables users to measure their daily steps as well as heart rate. Even with such a distinctive reputation, devices like Fitbit can only accomplish so much. Some Fitbit models have bulky effect which can get in the way for wearers and it is limited to only monitoring the mechanical activities. It seems to be in a dire need for an upgrade. A team of international researchers has introduced a biomarker skin patch that doesn’t need batteries, while the development is underway. An in-depth knowledge of the new device and its working mechanism have been detailed in a paper published in the journal Science Advances.
According to the researchers, it is a wearable device, similar to that of a Fitbit, while it differs in an important component: measuring biological processes in real time. The newly developed skin patch will be able to extract information about the inner body by testing the user’s sweat.
The biomarker skin patch features small holes to pull in sweat, easily attaches to the skin, and continuously takes small sweat samples throughout the day. After absorbing, the sweat travels through micro-channels to reach the collection chambers that act as sites for the test. One chamber measures the amount of sweat produced by the user, while another examines pH level through color change. In other chambers, chemical reagents are present that generally react to glucose or lactate.
The biomarker is powered by radio waves released by various electronic devices, and therefore doesn’t require batteries. Data from the device can be accessed through a smartphone and easily be converted into a format that users or doctors can use to interpret. The researchers said that elements present in the sweat contain markers for things such as cystic fibrosis, electrolyte, and dehydration levels. In addition, the patch could provide sportspersons with real-time test of how their body is holding up during competition.
As the new biomarker can be used in any environment, including underwater, it may be favorable over other devices that strap to the body. Additionally, the unique selling point of the patch is that its channel portion is disposable, allowing the wearer to use it for a number of times.