With 5G, wearable concepts, and electrochemical research on biosignals, there are more and more smartwatch prototype studies and designs emerging. A team from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford Medicine have jointly developed a smartwatch that can instantly monitor Acetaminophen in sweat.
Pain reliever ingredient – acetaminophen
What is acetaminophen? It is a common ingredient in pain relievers used to treat mild to moderate pain and reduce fever. Common conditions include headaches, muscle pain, arthritis, back pain, toothache, and colds and fevers. In the precautions for the drug, it will mention how old you can take it, how many tablets (dose) you can take a day, how long the interval needs to be, and even how much weight an adult or child needs to reach before taking it. The above all reflect the results of pharmacokinetics studies, such as how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and excreted, so that the dose of the drug can be changed to suit the needs of different people. However, each person’s ability to metabolize drugs is different, and measuring acetaminophen in sweat is a way of reflecting the metabolism of drugs by people who take them.
Acetaminophen in sweat
So, how does a smart watch detect acetaminophen? After the human body takes acetaminophen-containing drugs or other drugs, the sweat secreted by the body will contain molecules that are related to the drug and are electroactive. When a voltage is applied, these molecules exhibit specific electrochemical signals. The larger the signal, the higher the drug concentration in the body. However, there may be more than one electroactive molecule in sweat. Therefore, the electrochemical sensor developed by the scientists must be able to separate the electrochemical signal of acetaminophen or other drugs, and also reduce the interference of other non-target molecules.
Sensors combined with smart watches
How does the sensor measure? The sensor is fixed on the back of a customized smartwatch, and when a tiny amount of voltage is applied, it can scan very little sweat to identify molecules related to the target drug. Then, the measured electrochemical signals are transmitted to the smart watch via Bluetooth to present the data.
To verify that the smartwatch sensor was measuring acetaminophen correctly, the scientists tested two subjects taking the acetaminophen drug, comparing the results of the custom-made smartwatch with the results of a saliva test. It was found that the detection results of the customized smart watch sensors were almost the same as the saliva detection results.
One of the keys to smart healthcare
This is yet another example of a wearable sensor successfully detecting biosignals. With the development of science and technology, smart products will have more and more applications in medical care. It can be said that smart medical care and technology research and development complement each other. In the medical application of 5G that can be seen in the future, the research and development of sensors is a key part. For example, when the electrochemical signal is collected, can it also be transmitted to the cloud in an instant and securely encrypted way?