JUN 08, 2016 04:55 AM PDT

Hybrid Biosensor Monitors Electrical And Chemical Signals Simultaneously

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
The new generation of wearable sensors is here and they are more than the one-trick pony like their predecessors. Earlier in the year, scientists at the University of California Berkeley made a wearable sensor that can analyze several different metabolite levels from just beads of sweat. Now, engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a one-of-a-kind sensor that can measure heartbeat rhythms and lactate levels simultaneously. Devices such as these have the potential to transform the understanding of our bodies in real time.

"One of the overarching goals of our research is to build a wearable tricorder-like device that can measure simultaneously a whole suite of chemical, physical and electrophysiological signals continuously throughout the day," said co-project leader Patrick Mercier, at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego, and senior study author.

Indeed the team has gotten very close to their goal. Known as the “Chem-Phys patch,” the small sticky device attaches to a person’s sternum and records both electrical and biochemical signals from the body. It works by having two electrocardiogram (EKG) electrodes that measures the heart’s electrical signals. In addition, there’s another electrode specific to sensing lactate, which is a metabolite released into the bloodstream during periods of physical exertion.

By its design, the EKG electrodes are spaced out from each other enough so as to avoid interference from the individual electrodes. And to keep the electrical signal separate from the chemical one, the team made sure to protect the EKG electrodes with water-repellent silicone rubber.
 

In a small trial with three participants, the Chem-Phys patch performed with high accuracy as compared to a standard heart rate monitor on the wrist. It also detected accurate measures of lactate levels as the patients engaged in 15 to 30 minutes of intense cycling.

With this preliminary data, the team hopes to target their wearable device for athletes, as well as people at risk for cardiac diseases. "There would certainly be interest in the sports medicine community about how this type of sensing could help optimize training regimens for elite athletes,” said Kevin Patrick, professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “The ability to concurrently assess EKG and lactate could also open up some interesting possibilities in preventing and/or managing individuals with cardiovascular disease."

Additional source: MNT
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 11, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
JUN 11, 2018
Nasal Brush Test for Asthma Diagnosis
Diagnosing mild-to-moderate asthma can be difficult to diagnose, especially when scientists need to rule out other respiratory disorders that have similar...
JUN 12, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUN 12, 2018
Loss of Brain Lesions may Indicate Worsening MS
New research could help doctors determine how severe a case of multiple sclerosis will become....
JUN 29, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
JUN 29, 2018
TRAF7 Mutation Responsible for Mysterious Disorder
A multisystem developmental disorder with specific symptoms shared by seven patients had gone unexplained, but a new genetic sequencing study may provide a...
JUL 10, 2018
Cardiology
JUL 10, 2018
Going Digital for Heart Disease Detection
A group based out of Scripps has utilized a new, patient-centric, mobile medical device to help diagnosis Atrial Fibrillation....
AUG 11, 2018
Microbiology
AUG 11, 2018
A Microbrewery can Help us Monitor Radiation Exposure
This wearable technology is very sensitive, and can be used by workers that are at risk of radiation exposure....
DEC 10, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 10, 2018
What To Expect During Your Stress Test
If you or a loved one has been scheduled for a treadmill stress test, you may be wondering what you can expect. The procedure is usually done in a hospital...
Loading Comments...