The search continues for clinical-grade, non-invasive wearables that can monitor crucial biomarkers passively. Patient compliance is greatest when users don’t need to take additional action after they strap on, pin on, or press on a wearable that continuously monitors one or more metrics. Solid technology already exists that transmits data collected on wearables to an associated smartphone app and then to the cloud for storage, analysis, and necessary alerts. The sticky point in the above formula for the ideal wearable is clinical or medical-grade data. Bouncing light off interstitial blood flow (photoplethysmography or PPG) and measuring trace factors in sweat (microfluidics) qualify as non-invasive and convenient. To our knowledge, the FDA hasn’t cleared any sweat sensors to measure blood glucose, but perhaps that will come soon.

One candidate may come from the UK startup Sweati, a company that has announced its eponymous Sweati patch. The waterproof fabric Sweati patch uses microfluidics and microchip analysis to measure glucose, lactate, and hydration, according to James Mayo, Sweati CEO and founder. Mayo developed Sweati in collaboration with Imperial College London. Mayo also states that a wearer does not have to work up a sweat for the device to work as it requires only minute amounts of sweat.

Mayo’s goal is to succeed in in tests that demonstrate the Sweati patch can measure the three biomarkers continuously and accurately. Sweati has arrangements in place for trials with unidentified sports teams and with “branches of the US and UK military,” according to Mayo. Mayo is particularly focused on certified medical-grade test results for continuous glucose monitoring, due to the huge need for non-invasive blood sugar testing for people with diabetes.