If you’ve ever known anyone who has to monitor their blood glucose level, you know it is annoying to have to prick your finger with a lancet to draw blood for each measurement. A new sweatband that incorporates flexible electronics can measure glucose–as well as sodium, potassium, and lactate–from your sweat, without a painful pin prick.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford announced the band earlier this month. It contains five sensors on a flexible substrate and uses electrical properties to analyze your sweat. For example, more glucose or lactate in your sweat generates more current, while increases in sodium and potassium generate higher voltages. Some of the measurements depend on other factors like temperature, which the band takes into account.
The wearable device communicates with Bluetooth and could find its way into next-generation smart watches and fitness trackers. There’s also a disposable sensor array that goes on like a temporary tattoo.
Not that we haven’t seen glucose tracking on a watch before, but that was just a display. Hopefully, some of the open source glucose monitoring projects will pick up this, or similar, technology. You can see a video about the new sweatband monitor, below.