In Brief

The beverage manufacturer's color-changing wearable device measures chloride levels in the sweat to determine your state of hydration

Gatorade built a tiny wearable device that measures sweat to determine how dehydrated someone really is. The currently nameless device comes in the form of a silicone patch. Inside the device are extremely tiny microfluidic tubes where sweat flows through and into different chambers.

Inside each chamber is dyestuff that is highly sensitive to the concentration of chloride in the sweat, which is a great indicator of mineral loss. Judging by the colors appearing on the patch, wearers can quickly assess their level of electrolyte loss and dehydration.

Unlike other wearables that promise to read into sweat, such as LEVL, the invention by Dr. John Rohers from Northwestern University doesn’t rely as heavily on electronics. Instead, the device uses reagent and microfluidic channels that control the flow of the sweat and color-coded feedback. According to content posted on the Northwestern University website, the first versions of the project can measure chloride levels in sweat at several points during a workout.

The simple idea of packing an entire laboratory, including reagents, into a wearable silicon patch has a lot of potential.  Dr. John Rogers is even planning to create patches with built-in connectivity. Previous prototypes for the device are also able to measure glucose, lactate and pH levels in sweat.

Dr. John Rogers and his team at the McCormick School of Engineering aren’t new to designing tiny wearables: They have previously worked with French beauty brand L’Oreal in developing a tiny button that measures UV exposure. The device, which fits atop a human fingernail, can be worn in many ways and help people monitor their UV exposure.

The straightforward technology makes Dr. Roger’s patch a highly-marketable product. Developed at the Gatorade Sports Research Institute, it will be no surprise if the patches push Gatorade’s product line forward. And unlike most other wearable concepts, the product can be available within the year.

Northwestern Engineering

Gatorade built a tiny wearable device that measures sweat to determine how dehydrated someone really is. The currently nameless device comes in the form of a silicone patch. Inside the device are extremely tiny microfluidic tubes where sweat flows through and into different chambers.

Inside each chamber is dyestuff that is highly sensitive to the concentration of chloride in the sweat, which is a great indicator of mineral loss. Judging by the colors appearing on the patch, wearers can quickly assess their level of electrolyte loss and dehydration.