The IDTechEx conference was last week, but we’ve still got more great information from that event to cover here. For example, a presentation by Dr. Joshua Windmiller of Electrozyme explored the potential benefits of real-time sweat sensors. We’ve written about sweat here before (“Unlocking the Secrets of Sweat” and “Printed Battery Powered by Sweat“), but this company has some interesting new approaches. As Dr. Windmiller pointed out, sweat is filled with information; it can contain 800 unique biomarkers. As a result, the more of this data you can gather, the more insights you can derive from analyzing the aggregated information.
Electrozyme has focused on creating printed sensors at low cost with high sensitivity for specific chemicals. They use screen printing technology to keep production costs down. These sensors can be incorporated into strips applied directly on a subject’s skin. The company does not plan to create devices, but rather plans to have its technology incorporated in the Health Tech devices made by other companies. The company has developed devices that can detect different chemicals, such as lactate, sodium, ammonium, and overall pH level (the level of acidity in the sweat). Any one of these measures by itself is useful. For example, the pH level information can be critical in treating non-healing wounds. But when you can combine the data from different sensors, it becomes possible to create a profile that can be matched to other examples. This can lead to correlations that can be used to identify conditions before symptoms appear.
This turned out to be one of the central themes for the IDTechEx conference: the more information, the better. Large data sets that let you associate different information from a variety of sensors helps paint a broader picture of a subject’s physiology. Add more sets over time, and the information gets that much more valuable as you can analyze trending changes. The important take-away from this concept is that wearable Health Tech devices and related mobile products must not be designed to be isolated islands of information. They must be able to share information in a way that makes it possible to analyze data from individuals and populations over time. The end result will be earlier diagnosis of diseases and other conditions, more effective treatments, better quality and longer life for individuals, and lower healthcare costs for society as a whole.