Smart necklace that tracks a wearer’s health through SWEAT could change how 400 million diabetics worldwide monitor their glucose levels
- The smart necklace is designed with a sensor that sits on the back on the neck
- This allows it to collect small samples of sweat from the wearer
- The sensor then analyzes the sweat for serotonin and glucose levels
- This could eliminate the need for diabetics to take blood to check their levels
A new smart necklace capable of measuring several chemicals and concentrations in the wearer’s sweat could change the lives of the some 400 million diabetics worldwide by eliminating the need for finger-picking blood tests.
The device features a clasp and pendant with the biochemical sensor on the back that when placed around the neck, captures glucose and serotonin levels.
During a human trial, engineers from Ohio State University showed the smart necklace was able to measure a concentration of sodium, potassium, and hydrogen ions from the subject’s sweat with up to 98.9 percent accuracy.
The team also foresees their biosensors being added to personal belonging such as rings and earrings or even implanted under the skin to let users know about changes in their health.
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The device features a clasp and pendant with the biochemical sensor on the back that when placed around the neck, captures glucose and serotonin levels
Pictured is a graphic showing the placement of the smart necklace. The biosensor that analyzes sweat is placed at the back of the neck. The sensor is so powerful, it only needs a small sample of sweat to produce a reading
Study co-author Jinghua Li explained that sweat contains hundreds of biomarkers that hold details of our health status.
‘The next generation of biosensors will be so highly bio-intuitive and non-invasive that we’ll be able to detect key information contained in a person’s body fluids,’ she said in a statement.
Li also note that due to the small size of the sensor, only a tiny amount of sweat is needed to capture a reading.
Li and her team conducted the first human trials of the smart necklace, which they placed on a subject while they cycled for 30 minutes.
Then, the participant took a 15-minute break, drank a sugar-sweetened beverage and resumed cycling.
The results show that, in all cases, the glucose concentration in sweat reaches a peak within 30 to 40 minute after the sugar intake.
‘The results suggest a less-obvious spike in glucose concentration afterward, which indicates that drinking sugar can induce an increase in the amount of glucose in sweat,’ the team shared in the study published in Science Advances.
Li notes that although it will be some time before a device similar to this study’s prototype will become available to the public, the team is already thinking about what will benefit the people who will need this potentially life-saving technology the most.
The first human trials of the smart necklace was placed on a subject while they cycled for 30 minutes.
The results on human trials show that, in all cases, the glucose concentration in sweat reaches a peak within 30 to 40 minute after the sugar intake
Instead of using the bulky and rigid computer chips found in our phones and laptops, the sensors are made out of materials that are ultra thin. This style of design makes the product highly flexible, protects the device’s functionality, and ensures that it can safely come into contact with a person’s skin.
While the study notes that further miniaturization would make it more feasible for this and similar devices to become implantable, for now, Li said she imagines it as a lightweight device with simple circuit layouts that could be easily integrated into our daily lives.
While this biosensor is designed to monitor health, a separate wearable announced last year detects if the wearer is burnout.
Developed by Engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and start-up Xsensio, the technology detects levels of the stress hormone cortisol in sweat.
The device is placed directly onto the wearer’s skin and offers both high sensitivity and very low detection limits, the researchers said.