A research team from Tokyo University of Science has designed a new sweat sensor for continuous lactate monitoring, which is useful in predicting muscle fatigue.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
In one study, researchers address a common problem with existing microfluidic technologies: when used to monitor sweat biomarkers, microfluidic channels tend to trap air bubbles, which interrupt the measurement.
The design proposed by the TUS researchers uses a larger sweat reservoir. TUS Associate Professor Dr. Isao Shitanda explained, “By increasing the length of the reservoir in the microfluidic channel, a space of about four microliters has been created to trap air bubbles that seep into the device, preventing them from coming into contact with the sensor electrodes.”
The study, the results of which were published in the journal ACS sensors, checked the bubble trapping mechanism of the new sensor. He also found that the lactate measurement was not affected by sweat flow while the sensor response remained stable for two hours. The sensor had also been tested on a volunteer who was training on a stationary bike for about an hour.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Human sweat can provide information about a person’s hydration level, electrolyte balance and general physiological state, the TUS researchers noted. Their latest invention has the potential to facilitate health monitoring and training management for athletes.
“Since the proposed lactate sensor microfluidic system is made from a soft, flexible and non-irritating material, it could be used to continuously monitor lactate levels in sweat, especially in sports and fitness. medicine,” Dr Shitanda said.
THE GREAT TREND
In connected fitness tech, popular sports drink supplier Gatorade launched a sweat-tracking patch and fitness tracker app two years ago for athletes to track their hydration, salt concentration and other metrics.
Massachusetts researchers Tufts University also designed a sensor patch that can be sewn onto clothing to track sweat biomarkers.