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The Latest Wearable Tech: Flexible Microfluidic Devices

Thursday, January 26, 2017 Posted by Erika Vázquez

We’re excited to announce that MC10 co-founder John Rogers’ latest invention recently landed on the cover of the November 2016 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Rogers, a pioneer in the field of soft bioelectronics, has created a novel epidermal microfluidic device which harvests and routes tiny droplets of sweat from skin pores for biochemical analysis. Researchers can now tap into rich information stored in sweat, including hormone levels, sodium, chloride, pH and stress indicators. Rogers et al. published their first demonstration of skin-worn epidermal microfluidics in Science Translational Medicine.

In a video produced by Northwestern University, Rogers explains the functionality of the new epidermal microfluidics device. The video shows the epidermal microfluidics in action, routing microliter volumes of sweat into zones for colorimetric analysis of biomarkers. The changes in color are then quantitatively evaluated with image processing software on a smartphone.

Initial clinical studies have been conducted on endurance athletes and have been focused on measuring sweat rate and sweat analyte levels. In addition to sports applications, this technology has potential as a low cost pre-screening tool for a range of conditions — including cystic fibrosis, skin dehydration and diabetes.

The device mirrors the operation of L’Oreal’s My UV Patch, particularly in terms of user flow and form-factor. My UV Patch is the first epidermal electronic built on the ultra-thin WiSP™ platform and was developed by Rogers and the MC10 team. It helps users seamlessly monitor their UV exposure.

As Rogers continues to push the limits of technology, this sweat-sensing patch represents a new frontier in the world of epidermal wearables and the potential to study physiology non-invasively.

Image Source: Science Translational Medicine