The range of sensors used in Health Tech continues to broaden in the rapidly expanding Internet of Things. We already know measuring various elements in blood and reading electrical waves can tell a lot about individual health, but while still vital, those are old school signs of relative health. Recently we looked at measuring fat burning from breath. Another biomarker that’s gaining attention and added development is sweat. We’ve already noted the significance of sweat in an earlier article. New research and development at UC Berkeley takes sweat measurement a step further.
While the scientists at UC Berkeley suggest bringing products to market will take another couple of years, there are many applications of a sweat sensor-in-a-headband. The technology under development focuses on measuring sodium, potassium, lactate, and glucose. Sodium and potassium measurements can indicate levels of dehydration and lactate levels show muscle fatigue. Glucose level detection is helpful for understanding when you need more fuel to keep exercising or working, but also has implications for people with incipient or active diabetes and other diseases and conditions.
Athletes and exercisers are a fat target (oops) for market-based product development because many people willingly spend money to try new devices that support their hobbies and obsessions. On the other hand, getting people to invest in health monitoring technology presents financial and compliance hurdles. The acceptance and proliferation of FitBit and other fitness monitoring devices versus wearable blood pressure measuring devices makes the point. Developing devices that can measure metabolites in body fluids and field testing first in the gym or on the courts and playing fields could prove to be the canniest play of all.