Sweat sensor monitors metabolites to detect gout, metabolic and other disorders

Caltech’s Wei Gao has developed a wearable sensor that monitors metabolites and nutrients in blood by analyzing sweat. Previously developed, less sensitive, sweat sensors mostly target electrolytes, glucose, and lactate.

Gao develops devices based on microfluidics, which minimize the influence of sweat evaporation and skin contamination on sensing accuracy.  Previous microfluidic-based wearable sensors were mostly fabricated with a lithography-evaporation process, requiring  complicated and expensive fabrication processes. Gao uses graphene.

In a study, the sensor was used to measure respiratory rate, heart rate, and levels of uric acid and tyrosine. Tyrosine can indicate metabolic disorders, liver disease, eating disorders, and neuropsychiatric conditions. Elevated Uric acid is associated with gout.

Gao believes that the high sensitivity of the sensors, and  the ease with which they can be manufactured, could enable them to be used at home to monitor gout, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.


Professor Gao will be a featured speaker at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 11-12, 2020.

Silk patch measures 6 biomarkers in sweat

Wenya He, Yingying Zhang, and Tsinghua and Northwest School colleagues  have developed a silk-based wearable patch which measures glucose, ascorbic acid, lactate, potassium, sodium ions and uric acid concentrations in sweat.

Sensors are embedded in a woven graphite-silk fabric. Conductivity is enhanced using graphite doped with nitrogen atoms. The flexible patch is applied to the skin on the arm and used to collect data from sweat for the 6 biomarkers.

Epicore Biosystems, with technology developed by Roozbeh Ghaffari at Northwestern, and Eccrine Systems, spun out of Jason Heikenfeld’s work at University of Cincinnati, are rapidly advancing the use of sweat-monitoring wearables.


Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 at Quadrus Sand Hill Road.  Speakers include:  Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures – Mark Chevillet, Facebook – Shahin Farshchi, Lux Capital – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech – Sergiu Pasca, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Sheng Xu, UC San Diego – Dror Ben-Zeev, University of Washington – Mikael Eliasson, Roche