Watch Out For Wearable Sweat Sensors

A research group from South Korea has invented a sweat rate sensor in the form of a watch for the measurement of thermal comfort.

AsianScientist (Feb. 15, 2018) – Scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in South Korea have developed a sensor for detecting thermal comfort, designing it in the form of a watch. Their work is published in Scientific Reports.

People naturally sweat more during summer and less during winter. Sweat can therefore be an excellent proxy for sensing core body temperature and thermal comfort. However, conventional sweat rate sensors using natural ventilation require bulky external devices, such as pumps and ice condensers, thus limiting their widespread use.

To overcome these problems, Professor Cho Young-Ho and his team at KAIST developed a lightweight sweat sensor in the form of a watch. The team integrated miniaturized thermos-pneumatic actuators for automatic natural ventilation, which allows sweat to be measured continuously.

This watch-type sensor measures changes in sweat production and humidity when the chamber is closed during skin contact. Moreover, the sensor is wind-resistant enough to be used as a wearable device. The team demonstrated that the sensor operates steadily with air velocity ranging up to 1.5 meters per second, equivalent to the average human walking speed.

An added advantage of their design is power efficiency. Although their device is only 35 millimeters in length, 25 millimeters in width and weighs just 30 grams, it operates continuously for more than four hours using conventional wrist watch batteries. The team plans to use this technology for developing cognitive air-conditioning systems that recognize human thermal status directly.

“Our sensor for human thermal comfort monitoring can be applied to customized or smart air conditioners. Furthermore, as demand for physical and mental healthcare increases, this technology will serve as a new platform for personalized emotional communion between humans and devices,” said Cho.

The article can be found at: Sim et al. (2018) Wearable Sweat Rate Sensors for Human Thermal Comfort Monitoring.


Source: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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