When you’re thirsty, you drink water right? Sounds simple, but for those who are really into fitness or sports - keeping hydrated can get a little more complicated. That’s why a new wearable patch that tests the user’s sweat can warn an athlete when electrolytes are low and it’s time to take a beverage break.
Digital Trends reports about the sweat-tracking skin patch that’s a bit bigger than a quarter and is able to work with a smartphone app and tell the user all about their hydration levels. Though some may hear about this patch and immediately think it’s the same concept as fitness trackers, it in fact is not.
John Rogers, creator of the patch and director of Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, explains how by tracking a user’s sweat this patch is “radically different” than your average fitness tracker. Rogers says, “Sweat has biochemical components within it that tell us a lot about physiological health.”
By warning the user when their electrolytes begin to fall, the patch is essentially allowing the athlete to hydrate before ever experiencing any poor performance signs of dehydration. The way the patch works is by changing colors when it reacts to chemicals that are found in sweat. The colors can indicate many things like sweat loss, acidity, levels of lactate, glucose and chloride - all indicators of hydration and electrolyte levels.
The user can then snap a photo of the patch and a smartphone app can interpret what the colors mean. Creators of the patch believe using a phone would be easier than carrying around a color-coded chart while exercising. Though there is still a lot of testing to do before this patch hits the market, Rogers believes it is the next step in fitness tracking.
What do you think about this wearable patch that tracks hydration levels through the user’s sweat?
Does this feature sound like it would be useful in a fitness tracker?