They say you can tell a person’s age by looking at their hands. But how about their health and well-being? For that, the answer may lie in the pores of your skin.
As most of you know, sweating helps to cool our bodies when our body temperature rises from vigorous exercise and activity or from a fever. It turns out the sweat itself may provide insights into how healthy we are as well. GE is working with scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Cincinnati, and the US Air Force to develop a wearable sensor patch that can analyze your sweat. It will look something like a nicotine patch that you can wear on your arm.
The sweat sensor is being designed to look for certain biomolecules or molecular markers in your sweat that can provide valuable information about our health and well-being. Specifically, it will help assess a person’s level of stress and overall energy level. This is something the US Air Force is very interested in using to analyze for soldiers and pilots. Beyond that, it could serve as a health monitor for all of us one day.
The technology itself is very “cool,” but what’s even cooler is the technology GE scientists are developing to ensure sweat is measured accurately. We’re actually utilizing expertise in microfluidics that we typically apply to manipulate and improve the airflow and efficiency of our aircraft engines to direct the sweat over the sensor ever so precisely. We create pathways and valves in the sensor itself to control where the sweat goes, so that we can get the most accurate measurement. We are also developing wearable wireless detection systems to be able to measure very small biomarker concentrations (in the range of nanomolars), which is like one drop in 2.5 million gallons of water)
Our founder Thomas Edison is famous for stating that “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” He’s absolutely right!
Read more in GE Reports.