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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