New wearable device 'could measure biochemical and electric body signals'

Engineering

The first flexible wearable device capable of monitoring both biochemical and electric signals in the human body has been created by engineers in the US.

Created by the University of California - San Diego, the Chem-Phys patch is designed to be worn on the chest and is able to communicate wirelessly with a smartphone, smart watch or laptop.

“A flexible wearable device that can be used to monitor biochemical and electric body signals has been developed by US engineers.“

Its flexible suite of sensors and small electronic board allow it to track levels of lactate - a biochemical used to gauge physical effort - in real time, as well as electrocardiogram heart signals, without one interfering with the other.

The patch was tested on three male subjects, with results closely matching the data collected by a commercial wristband heart rate monitor, while the lactate biosensor readings also correlated with those from other studies.

Efforts will now be made to add sensors for other chemical markers, such as magnesium and potassium, as well as other vital signs.

Electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier at the University of California - San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, said: "One of the overarching goals of our research is to build a wearable tricorder-like device that can measure simultaneously a whole suite of chemical, physical and electrophysiological signals continuously throughout the day."

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