The smart necklace tracks the wearer’s health through perspiration

A smart necklace that tracks wearer’s health through sweat could change how 400 million diabetes patients worldwide monitor their glucose levels

  • The smart necklace is designed with a sensor installed on the back of the neck
  • This allows it to collect small samples of sweat from the wearer
  • The sensor then analyzes your sweat for serotonin and glucose levels
  • This can eliminate the need for diabetics to take blood to check their levels

A new smart necklace capable of measuring many chemicals and concentrations in the wearer’s sweat could change the lives of nearly 400 million diabetics worldwide by eliminating the need for finger-prick blood tests.

The device features a clasp and collar with a biochemical sensor on the back that, when placed around the neck, captures glucose and serotonin levels.

During a human experiment, engineers from Ohio State University showed that the smart necklace was able to measure the concentration of sodium, potassium and hydrogen ions from a subject’s sweat with an accuracy of 98.9 percent.

The team also expects to add their biosensors to personal belongings such as rings and earrings or even implant them under the skin to inform users of changes in their health.

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The device features a clasp and collar with a biochemical sensor on the back that, when placed around the neck, captures glucose and serotonin levels.

In the photo is a graphic showing the position of the smart necklace.  A biosensor that analyzes sweat is placed at the back of the neck.  The sensor is very powerful, and only needs a small sample of sweat to produce a reading

In the photo is a graphic showing the position of the smart necklace. A biosensor that analyzes sweat is placed at the back of the neck. The sensor is very powerful, and only needs a small sample of sweat to produce a reading

Study co-author Jinghua Li explained that sweat contains hundreds of biomarkers that contain details of our health.

“The next generation of biosensors will be so intuitive and non-invasive that we will be able to detect key information contained in a person’s body fluids,” she said in a statement.

Lee also noted that due to the small size of the sensor, only a tiny amount of sweat is needed to capture a reading.

Li and her team conducted the first human experiments with the smart necklace, which they placed on an object while rotating it for 30 minutes.

Then, the participant took a 15-minute break, drank a sugar-sweetened beverage and resumed cycling.

The results showed that, in all cases, the concentration of glucose in the sweat reached its peak within 30-40 minutes after ingestion of sugar.

The team shared the study published in Science Advances: “The results indicate a less pronounced rise in glucose concentration afterward, suggesting that drinking sugar can lead to an increase in the amount of glucose in sweat.”

Lee notes that although it will be some time before a device similar to this study’s prototype becomes publicly available, the team is already thinking about what will benefit the people who will need this potentially life-saving technology the most.

The first human trials of the smart necklace were placed on a subject while it was rotated for 30 minutes.

The first human trials of the smart necklace were placed on a subject while it was rotated for 30 minutes.

Results from human trials show that in all cases, sweat glucose concentration peaks within 30-40 minutes after ingestion of sugar

Results from human trials show that in all cases, sweat glucose concentration peaks within 30-40 minutes after ingestion of sugar

Instead of using the bulky, rigid computer chips found in our phones and laptops, the sensors are made of extremely thin materials. This style of design makes the product very flexible, protects the functionality of the device, and ensures that it can safely come into contact with a person’s skin.

While the study suggests that further miniaturization would make it feasible for this and similar devices to become implantable, for now, Lee said she envisions it as a lightweight device with simple circuit layouts that can be easily integrated into our daily lives.

While this biosensor is designed to monitor health, a separate wearable device announced last year detects whether the wearer is experiencing fatigue.

Developed by engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and startup Xsensio, the technology detects levels of the stress hormone cortisol in sweat.

The device is placed directly on the wearer’s skin and offers high sensitivity and extremely low detection limits, the researchers said.

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