Scientists unveil wearable chip that measure stress levels through sweat


  • Scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a wearable sensor that could measure a person’s stress level by measuring cortisol.
  • The institution has partnered with Xsensio, a lab-on-skin platform developer to come up with the innovation.
  • The EPFL believed that their invention could aid in doctors’ bid to detect and medicate cortisol-related diseases.

Swiss researchers have developed a new device that can measure a person’s stress level through perspiration.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) researchers have designed a wearable sensor that is capable of measuring cortisol ━ the human’s stress hormone.’ In an entire day, an individual’s cortisol level typically fluctuates which follows a circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm, though, can be distorted when a person is dealt with certain afflictions.

“In people who suffer from stress-related diseases, this circadian rhythm is completely thrown off,” EPFL’s Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory head Adrian Ionescu said in a university release. “And if the body makes too much or not enough cortisol, that can seriously damage an individual’s health, potentially leading to obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression or burnout.”

The Nanolab researchers opted to measure cortisol through sweat for the device’s sensor, but it can also be measured via saliva or urine. With this, the team was able to design a non-invasive wearable sensor, which is more easy and comfortable to use for any wearer.

Just a simple patch, the wearable has a transistor and a graphene-made material, which makes the sensor ultra-sensitive, having the ability to capture the most precise data. The wearable is the first non-invasive device that enables experts to obtain a person’s cortisol levels throughout the day.

The EPFL scientists have worked alongside Xsensio to test their invention. As the maker of the Lab-on-SkinTM platform, Xsensio’s technology is the perfect platform for validating the cortisol wearable.

“The joint R&D team at EPFL and Xsensio reached an important R&D milestone in the detection of the cortisol hormone,” Xsensio CEO Esmeralda Megally said. “We look forward to testing this new sensor in a hospital setting and unlocking new insight into how our body works.” 

“Xsensio will make the cortisol sensor a key part of its Lab-on-SkinTM platform to bring stress monitoring to next-gen wearables,” she added.

Together with his co-scientists, Ionescu believed that their invention could aid in medical professionals’ goal to detect and cure high-cortisol levels in one’s body as well as other related illnesses like Addison’s disease (lacks cortisol) or Cushing’s disease (too much cortisol).

Source: Study Finds

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