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Skin-interfaced soft microfluidic systems with modular and reusable electronics for in situ capacitive sensing of sweat loss, rate and conductivity

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Abstract

Important insights into human health can be obtained through the non-invasive collection and detailed analysis of sweat, a biofluid that contains a wide range of essential biomarkers. Skin-interfaced microfluidic platforms, characterized by soft materials and thin geometries, offer a collection of capabilities for in situ capture, storage, and analysis of sweat and its constituents. In ambulatory uses cases, the ability to provide real-time feedback on sweat loss, rate and content, without visual inspection of the device, can be important. This paper introduces a low-profile skin-interfaced system that couples disposable microfluidic sampling devices with reusable ‘stick-on’ electrodes and wireless readout electronics that remain isolated from the sweat. An ultra-thin capping layer on the microfluidic platform permits high-sensitivity, contactless capacitive measurements of both sweat loss and sweat conductivity. This architecture avoids the potential for corrosion of the sensing components and eliminates the need for cleaning/sterilizing the electronics, thereby resulting in a cost-effective platform that is simple to use. Optimized electrode designs follow from a combination of extensive benchtop testing, analytical calculations and FEA simulations for two sensing configurations: (1) sweat rate and loss, and (2) sweat conductivity, which contains information about electrolyte content. Both configurations couple to a flexible, wireless electronics platform that digitizes and transmits information to Bluetooth-enabled devices. On-body field testing during physical exercise validates the performance of the system in scenarios of practical relevance to human health and performance.

Graphical abstract: Skin-interfaced soft microfluidic systems with modular and reusable electronics for in situ capacitive sensing of sweat loss, rate and conductivity

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
10 Jul 2020
Accepted
09 Oct 2020
First published
12 Oct 2020

Lab Chip, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Skin-interfaced soft microfluidic systems with modular and reusable electronics for in situ capacitive sensing of sweat loss, rate and conductivity

A. Hourlier-Fargette, S. Schon, Y. Xue, R. Avila, W. Li, Y. Gao, C. Liu, S. B. Kim, M. S. Raj, K. B. Fields, B. V. Parsons, K. Lee, J. Y. Lee, H. U. Chung, S. P. Lee, M. Johnson, A. J. Bandodkar, P. Gutruf, J. B. Model, A. J. Aranyosi, J. Choi, T. R. Ray, R. Ghaffari, Y. Huang and J. A. Rogers, Lab Chip, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0LC00705F

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