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Silver Nanowire Skin Sensor For Measuring Hydration Levels

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Athletes, soldiers, miners, and many others can suffer from dehydration, potentially putting them in mortal danger. Monitoring hydration levels within the body out in the field remains a challenge, but researchers at North Carolina State University have come up with a technology that may prove to be a consistent way of gauging hydration.

The North Carolina State team built a wireless skin sensor, which can be attached to the chest or wrist, and that uses special electrodes with silver nanowires to pick up small differences in the skin’s conductivity as the amount of water content changes.

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To make a tight contact with the skin, the electrodes are made of a flexible polymer. Making it conductive, while keeping the electrodes elastic, silver nanowires are embedded throughout the polymer.

The sensor has so far been tested on skin models with different hydration levels, and the sensor accurately measured those. The team even changed the ambient humidity of the air and the sensor remained unaffected by that.

There are already a couple prototypes of the device, each with Bluetooth wireless connectivity to easily read the sensor’s output on a nearby smartphone.


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