‘Smart necklace’ biosensor may track health status through sweat: Study tested ability of device to track glucose levels during exercise

‘Smart necklace’ biosensor may track health status through sweat: Study tested ability of device to track glucose levels during exercise

Researchers have successfully tested a device that may one day use the chemical biomarkers in sweat to detect changes in a person’s health.

In a new study published in the journal Science Advances, a team from The Ohio State University demonstrated a battery-free, wireless biochemical sensor that detected the blood sugar — or glucose — humans excrete from their skin when they exercise.

The Ohio State team fabricated a “smart necklace” — complete with a functional clasp and pendant — which, once placed around their necks, was used to monitor the glucose level of study participants as they exercised.

Instead of a battery, it works using a resonance circuit, which reflects radio frequency signals sent out by an external reader system. After engaging in indoor cycling for 30 minutes, participants took a 15-minute break, during which they drank sugar-sweetened beverages, before resuming cycling.

The researchers knew that glucose levels in the sweat should rise after drinking the sugary beverages — the question was whether this new sensor would pick it up, said Jinghua Li, co-author of the study and assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State.

The results showed the sensor did track the glucose levels successfully, which suggests it will work to monitor other important chemicals in sweat.

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