Photo credit: Murat Yokus, NC State University.


A new wearable tracker, developed by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, can measure—in almost real time—multiple metabolic markers and metabolite levels, formerly measurable only in a lab.

“The device is the size of an average watch, but contains analytical equipment equivalent to four of the bulky electrochemistry devices currently used to measure metabolite levels in the lab,” said study author Michael Daniele, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at NC State. “For this proof-of-concept study, we tested sweat from human participants and monitored for glucose, lactate, pH and temperature.”

The device has a replaceable strip embedded with chemical sensors. When the strip comes into contact with skin, it analyzes data from sweat and then transmits the information to a smartphone or smartwatch. Potential applications include being used in athletic or military training to detect dehydration, lactate levels or other health issues. More testing is underway to determine usage under different conditions. The researchers are exploring commercialization options.

The study is available in Biosensors and Bioelectronics (2020; doi:10.1016/j.bios.2020.112038).

See also: New Era of Wearable Technologies