A NEW device could let wearers know when they’ve had too much to drink before they realize it themselves.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego have created a wearable patch that senses alcohol, glucose, and lactate levels.
“Imagine being able to measure your blood sugar levels, know if you’ve had too much to drink, and track your muscle fatigue during a workout, all in one small device worn on your skin,” a news release about the new technology said.
The device, which is about the size of a stack of six quarters, is detailed in a new study published on Monday in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Researchers explain that although the “Velcro-like” patch uses microneedles to penetrate the skin to track levels, applying it isn’t painful.
“This is like a complete lab on the skin,” said Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego and co-corresponding author of the paper.
“It is capable of continuously measuring multiple biomarkers at the same time, allowing users to monitor their health and wellness as they perform their daily activities.”
Most wearable health trackers on the market can only monitor one thing, like glucose.
This new technology allows the wearer to see how alcohol, glucose, and lactate levels affect each other and track spikes or lows.
Users will be able to view and track their levels on their phones.
The microneedle patch is attached to a case of electronics that measures the different levels in the interstitial fluid using small electric currents created by the interaction.
The patches are disposable and can easily detach from the electronic case when it’s time for a new one.
The case is reusable and can be charged using any wireless charger.
In testing, researchers said that results from the patch closely matched results taken from products that are already on the market, like a Breathalyzer and glucose monitor.
The device is still a prototype, but Farshad Tehrani and fellow co-first author Hazhir Teymourian co-founded a startup company called AquilX to further develop the technology for commercialization.
Next, the team hopes to improve how long the patches last and possibly add more sensors to the device, to monitor medication levels in patients and other health signals.
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