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Tracking health is no sweat with new device

Wearable electronic analyzes chemicals in perspiration

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1:00pm, January 27, 2016
health tracker

TECH MERGER  A new health tracker can analyze chemicals in sweat by combining flexible sensors with a traditional electronic circuit board.

Fitness trackers just got an upgrade.

A new electronic health-monitoring device can sense a person’s temperature, analyze chemicals in a drop of sweat, and send the data wirelessly to a smartphone app — all in a package about the size of a few postage stamps.

The gadget could help athletes instantly gauge their hydration level, or give scientists an easy and noninvasive way to collect data for medical studies.

Researchers have built sweat sensors before, but the new device “just represents a whole nother level of sophistication,” says materials scientist John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Previous sensors have detected only a single chemical. The new sensor can measure four chemicals — glucose, lactate, sodium and potassium — simultaneously ­and in real time, Ali Javey and colleagues report January 27 in Nature.

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