Do you think you’re dehydrated? In the future, you may be able to look down at your arm to answer that question.
Researchers at Purdue University recently introduced a skin patch that tracks hydration in athletes. When an athlete becomes less and less hydrated, the skin patch changes color to match.
The low-cost skin patch is made from filter paper that is laser-machined to create a radial array of strips. The patch is then laminated with a water-impermeable film. The film channels your sweat into little “valleys” on the patch.
At the end of each valley is a water-activated dye. As athletes sweat, the strips are activated, changing from blue (hydrated) to red (less hydrated).
Using this technology, athletes can easily view identifiable levels of moisture loss.
Why do we need precise hydration tracking technology? Purdue professor Babak Ziaie explained in a statement:
“Hydration in humans is a delicate parameter”, said the professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering at Purdue. “Even small deviations such as 2 percent from normal levels can affect a person’s cognitive and physical performance by more than 30 percent.”
Some of the purported users of the skin patch technology include marathon runners, soldiers, athletes, and anyone with medical conditions linked to dehydration.
The New Skin Patch is Superior to Conventional Methods of Dehydration Tracking
Tracking dehydration might seem like a straightforward thing to do. However, modern dehydration tracking isn’t as advanced as you think. Today’s methods are accurate, but they’re invasive or require non-portable equipment.
Other modern hydration tracking technology just doesn’t provide immediate results.
This skin patch from Purdue, on the other hand, provides immediate results and is user friendly: you just stick it against your skin to enjoy constant hydration tracking.
The skin patch has also been proven to perform under intense conditions: it can continue tracking hydration when sweating at a rate of 90 microliters per hour over a square centimeter of skin, and it stays effective for 15 to 90 minutes.
The Purdue researchers who developed the patch have filed a patent application for the technology.
In the future, checking your dehydration might be as simple as checking the color on your arm.