This Tiny Patch Keeps Track Of Your Heart And Body Chemistry At Once

This Tiny Patch Keeps Track Of Your Heart And Body Chemistry At Once

This little device could one day replace your heart rate monitor. The researchers behind it claim that it’s the first flexible wearable device able to measure both electrical heart signals and biochemical markers while you work out.

Developed by a team from the University of California San Diego, the device is able to record an electrocardiogram (EKG) of your heart’s activity and levels of lactate, a chemical that correlates with physical exertion, at the same time. The circuitry is printed on to a thin and flexible polyester sheet, with a small on-board chip used to beam the data to a nearby device using Bluetooth.

The team explains in Nature Communications that the biggest difficulty with creating such a device is ensuring that the signals being acquired don’t interfere with each other. Because the device is so small and thin, it’s easy for the electrical signals to generate cross-talk in the circuits that sit close to each other. Ultimately, the team placed the EKG electrodes 5cm apart with the lactate sensor in the middle to minimise noise.

In a series of tests, which saw the device used during 30-minute workouts, the sensor was found to provide heart rate data which closely matched a normal heart rate monitor. Now, the team is going to investigate if the same device can be used to measure other vital signs.

[Nature Communications]

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.