Insufficient fluid intake and dehydration can cause physical problems and illnesses in people from all walks of life. PepsiCo releases a new product this week called Gx Sweat Patch. It comes from a startup called Epicore Biosystems that works with Gatorade’s PepsiCo. The wearable patch measures the rate of perspiration and the concentration of NaCl in that sweat.
The patch It tracks sweat loss during activity along with heat stress to use the information to recommend how much and how often athletes should drink to replace lost fluids. The goal is to help athletes avoid dehydration and poor performance. The patch has some potential future uses, including the ability to help athletes determine an optimal diet and sleep pattern.
The wearable microfluidic patch is on sale today in sports-good stores and online, at $ 24.99 for a box of two. The new product is the first time that Gatorade has moved into the world of digital products and applications for athletes. Epicore’s wearable patches have been tested with athletes for a while. The patchwork pathways are veined through microfluidic channels cut into stacks of thin-film polymers.
A micro-channel tracks the rate and volume of sweat secretion, and stains sweat orange to make it visible as it moves through pathways in the patch. The other microfluidic channel contains reagents that react with chloride in sweat, turning purple with a purple intensity corresponding to the concentration of detected chlorine ions.
The patch is worn on the left inner forearm during exercise, and the user wipes the patch with their smartphone. The Gx app uses the image with user-entered data about weight, gender, exercise type, and environment to create a “race profile” and make recommendations about fluid intake.