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Sweat-sensing patch could aid refueling and re-hydration

New technology for producing a patch to analyze sweat on the run has encouraging implications for refueling and hydration

Guesstimating how much and how often to refuel and hydrate could soon become a thing of the past as a recent study in Science Advances describes a wearable patch that analyzes sweat, including sodium, potassium and glucose levels, with many potential benefits for endurance runners.

The study, authored by researchers at Berkeley, describes how sweat testing in the past has required trained experts in a lab setting, whereas a wearable device in a patch format provides real-time biofeedback.

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This technology has existed for a while, but in the past, the challenge has been to put the necessary technology, which involves flexible electronic sensors, into a patch that works effectively and that can be affordably mass produced. New advancements in fabrication technology involving roll-to-roll rotary screen printing mean we’re getting closer to making such a patch available to athletes.

The proposed patch has two layers: the layer closest to the skin collects sweat and channels it to the upper layer, in which are embedded the electronics for monitoring sweat rate and analyzing its components. The information gleaned from the patch can be extrapolated to the rest of the body.