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New Apple patent hints at sweat analysis for next-gen health tracking

Apple is rumoured to be developing a sweat-tracking sensor. This tech could be integrated into a watch to track sweat rate and hydration levels and it could also be used to monitor other health and fitness metrics.

A sweat sensor in your Apple Watch?

This innovative addition, hinted at in a recent patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via Patently Apple), aims to measure the perspiration level of users. The sensor, a hybrid system utilizing capacitance circuitry, would operate through electrodes placed beneath the device, similar to the current ECG functionality.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Its primary function, as described in the filing, is to track sweat and fluid rate, providing users with vital information on their hydration levels during exercise. This could significantly impact safety by preventing dehydration and overhydration. Moreover, the sensor’s ability to overlay sweat rates with other health metrics could offer deeper insights into stress, a user’s fitness and overall stamina.

Of course, it’s still uncertain when this technology will debut. But a sweat sensor could potentially be included in future Apple Watch models. In our opinion, it is only a matter of time until this happens.

Apple Watch sweat tracking patent
Apple Watch sweat tracking patent / © Patently Apple

What your sweat reveals

Sweat is a rich source of information about our health. It contains electrolytes, metabolites, and other biomarkers that can provide insights into our hydration levels, stress levels, and even our overall health. A sweat-tracking sensor could tap into this wealth of information and provide us with a more comprehensive picture of our health than ever before.

This would be especially useful for athletes and people who live in hot climates, as it could help them to avoid dehydration when training. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is present in sweat. So a sweat-tracking sensor could be used to track changes in cortisol levels over time.

In addition to these specific examples, a sweat-tracking sensor could also be used to develop new health and fitness applications that we can’t even imagine yet. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, there are also some challenges that need to be addressed before sweat-tracking sensors can become mainstream. One challenge is that sweat can be variable. So it is important to develop sensors that are accurate and reliable. Another challenge is that sweat can be personal, so it is important to develop sensors that are privacy-conscious.

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of sweat-tracking sensors are significant. Apple is a leader in wearable technology. If the company is able to develop a sweat-tracking sensor that is accurate, reliable, and privacy-conscious, it could have a major impact on the way we track our health.

Sweat monitoring wearables

The evolution of sweat monitoring wearables has been marked by several innovative products over the years. For example, the Nix Hydration Biosensor is a patch that sticks to your skin and transmits data to a smartphone app. The app can then send notifications to your Apple Watch or Garmin watch. The Gatorade Gx Sweat Patch is another wearable device that uses sweat analysis. That one provides information about hydration, sodium levels, and other health metrics.

Then there’s the My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay. It offers insights into skin health by measuring the pH levels in sweat. So this technology has applications in both fitness and dermatology, offering a non-invasive way to monitor skin conditions and the body’s overall health.

Here are some other examples of how sweat can be used to track health and fitness metrics:

  • Monitor blood sugar levels: Sweat can be used to monitor blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This could be a more convenient and less invasive way to monitor blood sugar levels than traditional methods.
  • Track alcohol levels: Sweat can be used to track alcohol levels. This could be used to develop devices that help people to monitor their alcohol consumption or to prevent drunk driving.
  • Detect diseases: Sweat can be used to detect diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and cystic fibrosis. This could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

The potential applications of sweat-tracking technology are vast. As the technology continues to develop, we can expect to see even more innovative devices that use sweat to help us live healthier lives. Hopefully, a future edition of the Apple Watch will be one of them!

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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