Waterproof, electronics-enabled, epidermal microfluidic devices for sweat collection, biomarker analysis, and thermography in aquatic settings

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Science Advances  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau6356
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau6356


Noninvasive, in situ biochemical monitoring of physiological status, via the use of sweat, could enable new forms of health care diagnostics and personalized hydration strategies. Recent advances in sweat collection and sensing technologies offer powerful capabilities, but they are not effective for use in extreme situations such as aquatic or arid environments, because of unique challenges in eliminating interference/contamination from surrounding water, maintaining robust adhesion in the presence of viscous drag forces and/or vigorous motion, and preventing evaporation of collected sweat. This paper introduces materials and designs for waterproof, epidermal, microfluidic and electronic systems that adhere to the skin to enable capture, storage, and analysis of sweat, even while fully underwater. Field trials demonstrate the ability of these devices to collect quantitative in situ measurements of local sweat chloride concentration, local sweat loss (and sweat rate), and skin temperature during vigorous physical activity in controlled, indoor conditions and in open-ocean swimming.

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