- Existing devices can measure our parameters via heart rate or sweat
- American researchers are working on sensors capable of analyzing the gases emitted by our skin
Watches, fitness trackers, even connected textiles can tell us a lot about our health. But not as far as reliably detecting a metabolic disorder such as diabetes or heart disease. But the next generation of wearable health monitors is on the way. And it can be used to assess our physiological parameters… gases released from our skin. This is announced by a study by scientists from the University of Ohio, which was published in the journal PLOS One.
The most advanced devices for measuring human biomarkers rely primarily on electrical signals that analyze chemicals secreted through sweat. But these systems require a significant amount of that sweat to generate reliable data.
Analyze the gases escaping through the skin
Hence the idea of a sensor that would monitor the body’s health based on the gases being evacuated through the skin. Just like the alcohol tester already does, which already makes it possible to measure the alcohol content in the blood from the breath. Or like the measurement of acetone, also in the breath, the content of which provides information about the blood sugar level or fat burning.
But it would be a device”completely non-invasive and passive towards the user“, a small device that can be worn discreetly behind the ear or anywhere on the body with low perspiration.”Detecting health problems through the skin is really the ultimate frontier, in a few months we should be making progress with the concept and in a year we want to have it tested on humans” announces Pelagia Iren-Gouma, co-author of this study.
A new generation of skin sensors
And Ohio University scientists are optimistic about their device’s capabilities: “Our team’s sensors are already able to work with gas volumes much lower than those contained in the breath; We are developing a new generation of skin sensors made from a film of vegetable cellulose derivatives and electroactive polymers and this will really be the new standard‘, emphasizes Pelagia Iren-Gouma.
And the researchers point out that by focusing on these metabolic sensors, their work could also make it possible to better analyze gaseous substances in the body, tracking ethanol, for example, which can carry signs of liver disease.