The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Biosensor tattoo monitors sweat to gauge physical exertion

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Wearable electronics like the FitBit (see disclosure) allow people to track physical activity like never before. But accelerometers and altimeters can only tell the wearer so much.

Researchers at the University of California-San Diego have developed a sensor that is applied to the skin like a temporary tattoo. Once in place, it monitors chemicals in the wearer’s sweat to gauge physical exertion. They published their results in Analytical Chemistry this month (subscription required).

The body produces an acid called lactate during intense physical activity. If you’ve ever felt your muscles burn while running, that was lactate building up. The more it builds up, the more your body releases it in sweat.

Right now, the best way to monitor for lactate involves a finger prick. It is commonly used for athletes engaging in high-intensity activities, but they have to stop regularly to collect a blood sample. Researchers have developed noninvasive testing techniques like…

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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