Friday, 24 October 2014

Sweat-analyzing skin patch to replace blood sampling

It's on nerves when it comes to our blood sampling the thought is really haunting about this thing. It seems that scientists at the University of Cincinnati and the US Air Force Research Laboratory are developing a system in which a Band-Aid like skin patch is able to gather and transmit the medical data in real time by analyzing patient's sweat and we just need a smartphone to read it as I found over the internet.

Developed by Prof. Jason Heikenfeld and his team of Uni of Cincinnati. The flexible patch contains electronic circuit, communication antenna, controller chip and a microfluidic paper-based sweat-sampling system. That paper wicks minute amounts of sweat from the skin in a tree root-shaped pattern, in order to maximize the sampling area.

A superabsorbent hydrogel is also contained in that patch to keep sweat flowing through the paper mechanism and to draw and store the sampled sweat. The gel swells only 2-3 millimeters even after several hours of collecting sweat.

Interesting part here is that the chip does not has it's own power source, it operates on the power drawn from adjacent smartphone's signal, just like passive RFID tag. The current prototype patch can measure concentration of sodium and chloride. In future there will many improvements. 

The data is wirelessly transmitted to an app on the phone. The tech may some day be used for applications such as keeping athletes from cramping up monitoring their electrolyte levels, non-invasively keeping tabs on premature infant's vital sign's allowing, diabetics to watch their glucose levels, or for fine-tuning medication dosages by measuring drug metabolites in the patient's sweat.  

What you think about this new tech in medical world, comment below and share your views.

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