Saturday, April 29, 2017 (Forbes) – Professor Wei Gao, a post doctoral fellow at the University of California and recipient of 2016 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, spoke in February 2017 at Rice University about bioelectronic devices for personalize and precision medicine. His belief is that wearable biosensors and medical nanorobots combine health monitoring and therapy delivery to take us closer to personalized and precision medicine.
Research firm Tractica says healthcare is expected to be one of the biggest drivers for body sensors citing connected wearable patches as a key driver. Applications of wearable patches are not just for consumers but will fall into sports, enterprise and industrial markets as well. Tractica forecasts that body sensor shipments are expected to increase to 68 million in 2021 from 2.7 million units in 2015.
Where to start? Sweat. Monitoring sweat as a key biometric is not new. Sweat contains biomarkers like sodium, glucose and proteins that can be collected and measured non-invasively using sensors. Sweat has been used to monitor other conditions like cystic fibrosis, but now sweat can be used to monitor nutritional deficiencies, ion imbalances, elevated glucose levels and inflammation that industrial workers experience. Sweat can even tell a doctor if your medicines are not working properly.
Founded in 2015 Eccrine Systems, a sweat biometrics company, focused on making wearable sweat sensors for sports, industry and medicine to measure and transmit real-time data about human sweat.
Now there’s another new company focusing on sweat. Kenzen is a personalized health monitoring startup based in both Switzerland and California that’s created a wearable smart patch that analyzes sweat for changes in the body.
Users can connect the smart patch wirelessly to their smart phone and begin to get actionable health alerts and notifications in real-time based on their activity. The smart patch takes the data gathered from a user’s sweat and sends it to the smartphone app for analysis. Depending on the data, the app will alert the user if they’re in a medical situation, like dehydration.
“Sweat contains electrolytes, metabolites, small molecules and proteins that can tell you if your glucose levels are too high or if your body is dehydrated,” said Dr. Sonia Sousa, co-founder and CEO, Kenzen. “Until recently, sweat analysis wasn’t a standard testing procedure because it’s too hard to collect sweat. However, continued miniaturization and improvement of sensor technology have made it a viable option.”