A group of researchers from the Central Electrochemical Research Institute has developed a flexible, low-cost wearable sensor that can track sweat for monitoring health and physiological status of the human body.
The group is led by Vinu Mohan AM, scientist at the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI). He is a recipient of a fellowship instituted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which says that this sensor can obviate the necessity of blood and other invasive tests.
Their research has been published in the journal ‘ACS Sensor’. “The wearable microfluidic sensor, which does not need a clean room, can be used for in situ monitoring of multiple biomarkers simultaneously from sweat samples. Using the fellowship, Mohan is improving upon the sensor to make it stretchable as well,” the DST said in a statement.
It added that the sensor can analyse biomarkers from human sweat during exercise activities without transfer of signals. The high-throughput sweat sampling ability of the sensor facilitates continuous capture and transport of sweat over the surface of the device resulting in real-time analysis.
“The sensor can be attached on the irregular skin surface and monitors the dynamic biomarker levels, and are important for clinical diagnosis and personalized point-of-care analysis,” the statement read.
In the sensor set up by Mohan’s research group, sweat is captured real-time and directed through the active sensing electrodes for subsequent interference-free analyses. A miniaturised printed circuit board collects cross-talk-free sensor responses without the need for wires.
“The fully-integrated pump-less microfluidic device is mounted on the skin, and the regional variations in sweat composition are analysed at the underarm and upper back locations during stationary biking. The epidermal patch can monitor the hydration level and oxygenation of muscles which is essential for fitness monitoring application,” the statement added.
The DST added that Mohan and his team are also exploring other reliable biofluids such as saliva and fluid in tissues as they contain abundant chemical markers that could reflect the underlying physiology of the human body.
“They are also parallely focusing on developing wearable energy storage devices as they are essential for powering wearable electrochemical sensors. An all-printed solid-state flexible and stretchable supercapacitor having serpentine-shaped, interdigitated, freestanding interconnects was recently developed and used as an energy buffering element for powering a wearable pulse rate sensor. The work was published in NanoEnergy journal. Besides, his group is developing omni-directionally stretchable high-performance supercapacitors for self-powered wearable sensors,” the DST added.