Battery-free, skin-interfaced microfluidic/electronic systems for simultaneous electrochemical, colorimetric, and volumetric analysis of sweat

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Science Advances  18 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaav3294
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3294


Wearable sweat sensors rely either on electronics for electrochemical detection or on colorimetry for visual readout. Non-ideal form factors represent disadvantages of the former, while semiquantitative operation and narrow scope of measurable biomarkers characterize the latter. Here, we introduce a battery-free, wireless electronic sensing platform inspired by biofuel cells that integrates chronometric microfluidic platforms with embedded colorimetric assays. The resulting sensors combine advantages of electronic and microfluidic functionality in a platform that is significantly lighter, cheaper, and smaller than alternatives. A demonstration device simultaneously monitors sweat rate/loss, pH, lactate, glucose, and chloride. Systematic studies of the electronics, microfluidics, and integration schemes establish the key design considerations and performance attributes. Two-day human trials that compare concentrations of glucose and lactate in sweat and blood suggest a potential basis for noninvasive, semi-quantitative tracking of physiological status.

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