2022 journal article
A Soft Wearable Microfluidic Patch with Finger-Actuated Pumps and Valves for On-Demand, Longitudinal, and Multianalyte Sweat Sensing
ACS SENSORS, 7(10), 3169–3180.
Easy sample collection, physiological relevance, and ability to noninvasively and longitudinally monitor the human body are some of the key attributes of wearable sweat sensors. Examples typically include reversible sensors or an array of single-use sensors embedded in specialized microfluidics for temporal analysis of sweat. However, evolving this field to a level that truly represents "lab-on-skin" technology will require the incorporation of advanced functionalities that give the user the freedom to (1) choose the precise time for performing sample analysis and (2) select sensors from an array embedded within the device for performing condition-specific sample analysis. Here, we introduce new concepts in wearable microfluidic platforms that offer such capabilities. The described technology involves a series of finger-actuated pumps, valves, and sensors incorporated within soft, wearable microfluidics. The incoming sweat collects in the inlet chamber and can be analyzed by the user at the time of their choosing. On-demand sweat analyte assessment is achieved by pulling a thin tab to activate a pump which opens a valve and allows the pooled sweat to enter a chamber embedded with sensors for the desired analytes. The article describes a thorough characterization of the platform that demonstrates the robustness of the pumping, valving, and sensing aspects of the device under conditions mimicking real-life scenarios. A two-day-long human pilot study validates the system and illustrates the device's ability to offer on-demand, longitudinal, and multianalyte sensing. Our work represents the first example of a wearable system with such on-demand sensing capabilities and opens exciting avenues in sweat sensing for acquiring new insights into human physiology.