Just like animals recognize each other by their pheromones, humans can know a lot about the other person through their sweat. Your sweat is mixture of your body salts and extra toxins which can define your fitness level and health to quite an extent. For e.g., the amount of lactic acid present in your sweat can be used for knowing a person’s muscular stress levels during work outs. Higher acidic levels of this substance can easily lead to skin problems and higher saline concentration in your system. Fitness Technology realized significance of this process and is now developing a technology to keep a check on such data.
Wearable sweat sensors can always keep track of such information and utilize it later to provide the health information about any person. However, the only condition for wearing it is a regular flow of sweat. Therefore, the doctors ask the subjects to wear these sensors should be kept off moving body parts or other kinds of electrical power sources that can damage the sensor or cause injury to the wearer.
A team of researchers recently developed a viable solution for this problem. The basic framework of this was inspired from the water transport system used by plants. The team basically mirrored the water transportation system used by plants. Xylem is one of the main tubular systems that plants use for transporting water from roots to leaves. This system keeps the whole plant hydrated and also carries water-soluble nutrition to all parts of the plant. The evaporation over the surface of plant creates the required pressure for further pull of water from roots in xylem tubes.
The design created by team utilizes somewhat similar micro-channels for conducting sweat to the sensor through capillary action. Sweat is thus collected from skin through an absorbent paper and then evaporated via the porous paper outlet that is very much similar to pores present in leaves. The structuring of these has been done by forming three PET layers through laser microfabrication. The prototype has embedded sensors that monitor the pH levels electrochemically. The team says there are various other kinds of designs that can be used by the sensing system for measuring the sweat content of wearers.
The next query comes regarding the power requirement for sensors. This need is minimized to lowest level by the liquid flow mechanism which makes these sensors ways more efficient than their predecessors. This design is one of the finest examples of technology derived from natural processes which prove the significance of taking cue from nature which essentially has answer to all our questions.