Many athletes today can be seen sporting technological devices that are predicted to revolutionize public health in the future. Known as wearables, these gadgets use sensors to capture measurement data quite literally at first hand. Some of the best researchers in this field can be found at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) in Berlin, which has just kick-started a wearable technology project with the Swiss sensor manufacturer Xsensio to create an intelligent plaster as part of the EU-funded initiative "Xpatch".
This new wearable technology is designed to measure and analyze the wearer's sweat in real time 24/7 to draw conclusions about their current state of health. According to the IZM, this convenient form of analysis will make it much easier to track healing processes and keep them in check. As part of the project, the already highly renowned start-up Xsensio is lined up to create the sensor - which can detect, for example, electrolytes, hormones and proteins measuring less than one picomole in the wearer's perspiration. The Fraunhofer IZM, meanwhile, is developing the design concept and taking care of the sweat measurement sensor's power supply. With the latter task in mind, the institute has come up with new batteries that are flat, flexible and lightweight, paying particular attention to the choice of materials, which - given the plaster is discarded after use - need to be easily disposable and as inexpensive as possible. But long before this project reaches the finishing line and this smart plaster is put through its paces in the medical field, Xsensio is sure to have released variants aimed at our aforementioned athletes. In fact, the company is already working on a model purely for leisure and wellness that, among other things, reportedly warns athletes before hypoglycemia or dehydration sets in.