Tags: Skin Sensor | Dehydration | Firefighter | Hydration

Low-Cost Skin Sensor Detects Dehydration

Low-Cost Skin Sensor Detects Dehydration

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a wearable, wireless sensor that can monitor a person's skin hydration. (Photo: Shanshan Yao)

By    |   Monday, 30 January 2017 10:57 AM

Dehydration often goes undetected and can pose serious health risks to many people — from military personnel to firefighters and athletes. That's why researchers from North Carolina State University developed a wearable wireless sensor that detects dehydration before it can become serious.

The device can be worn on the wrist with a band or as a chest patch, and it can stretch with skin — important for active wearers. Both forms wirelessly transmit data that can be run on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone and can be monitored by the user or personnel in the field.

The sensor utilizes two electrodes made of an elastic polymer composite that contains conductive silver nanowires. The electrodes monitor the electrical properties of the skin. Skin's electric properties change based on hydration, and it's here that the electrodes can tell how hydrated the skin is through constant readings.

Yong Zhu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at N.C. State and co-corresponding author of the research, said that monitoring in real time was crucial to an individual's health: "We have developed technology that allows us to track an individual's skin hydration in real time. Our sensor could be used to protect the health of people working in hot conditions, improve athletic performance and safety, and to track hydration in older adults or in medical patients suffering from various conditions. It can even be used to tell how effective skin moisturizers are for cosmetics."

In tests using custom-made artificial skins with a broad range of hydration levels, the researchers found that the performance of the wearable sensor was not affected by humidity.

The state-of-the-art stretchable fitment is also cost-effective: "Our sensor costs about one dollar, and the overall manufacturing cost of the wearable systems we developed would be no more than a common wearable device, such as a Fitbit," Shanshan Yao, a student at N.C. State and lead author of the research, stated.

The research is published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.
 

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Dehydration often goes undetected and can pose serious health risks to many people — from military personnel to firefighters and athletes. That's why researchers from North Carolina State University developed a wearable wireless sensor that detects dehydration before it can become serious.
Skin Sensor, Dehydration, Firefighter, Hydration
327
2017-57-30
Monday, 30 January 2017 10:57 AM
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