New wearable patch can monitor chemicals in sweat

skin-sensor-nature-journalPretty much any fitness wearable or smartwatch can keep track of your heart rate, sleep duration and monitor you while exercising. But the ability to get any deeper data, such as what’s actually happening in your body chemically has required a doctor on standby to either draw blood or carry out a biopsy.

That’s changing. A paper recently published by respected journal Nature, titled A wearable chemical–electrophysiological hybrid biosensing system for real-time health and fitness monitoring, describes a wearable sensing system that can monitor lactate and act as an electrocardiogram for more comprehensive fitness monitoring than from physical or electrophysiological sensors alone.

The applications of this technology are quite broad.

Obviously, there’s a medical benefit as patients can be monitored and provide real-time data to health professionals if they suffer from particular conditions. But for sporting types, there’s the potential to monitor what’s happening in your body either while training or in competitive situations so you can manage your performance more closely.

For example, there are often times when I’m running when I feel like I’m working harder than I actually am. Getting real-time data could assist me with either pushing harder or backing off so I don’t overtrain.

Like all academic research, we won’t see this commericalised for a while. But the development of such as sensor, that works when applied to the skin, shouldn’t take long to find its way into commercial products.

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