HYDRATION: How much should I drink? Sweat app could have answer
August 26, 2019 • 1 min read
-- Thirst ensures we drink. But determining exactly how much to drink can be perplexing, especially for endurance athletes, who are dogged by the notion (seeded by marketing) that waiting for thirst is too late.
A new app may provide answers athletes are thirsting for.
Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, have designed a patch that can measure sodium in sweat to determine sweat rate directly from the skin.
They claim the sensor could help athletes fine-tune the composition and amount of fluid to support performance and recovery.
The patch collects sweat on the surface of the skin, conducting analysis in real-time and transmitting the data wirelessly to a mobile phone.
Sweat enters the device through a well that contains sensors measuring sodium and potassium. Spiralling tubules measure sweat rate.
Needle-free health tracking
The device has caught the interest of the wider scientific community for its potential to measure sweat’s rich chemical composition to track a range of health issues, without needles or protracted analysis.
For example, engineers could one day create a patch to calculate blood glucose in diabetic patients (sweat contains a small amount of glucose), and other molecules important to health, such as calcium and chloride, or even heavy metals such as lead, and drugs.
Researchers are also exploring ways to incorporate the patch into clothing, such as lycra, making it easier and more comfortable to keep sensors permanently in contact with the skin for longer periods of time.