Sweat is the New Tech

Date:     October 1, 2016
Contact: Ashley Duvelius

Eccrine Systems, a privately held company co-founded by UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems, Jason Heikenfeld, PhD, continues to receive recognition and garner achievements for the pioneering work it is doing with health diagnostics. The startup, spun out of UC in 2013, is Heikenfeld’s third, and a portion of the company is owned by UC, as are many of the patents related to the sweat sensor patch technology.

Dr. Heikenfeld

Dr. Heikenfeld, CEAS Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems

Bloomberg reports*:

"The Pentagon is keenly interested in sweat, with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab awarding Cincinnati-based Eccrine a $3.96 million contract last month to further a five-year effort at making real-time 'monitoring and augmentation' of ground troops and pilots a reality.

Air Force researchers want a reliable means to 'to get down to that molecular level and being able to quantify what’s going on in the body, but not having to draw blood to do it,' said Joshua Hagen, a civilian chemist and engineer with the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The lab has tested several prototypes with U.S. Special Forces—'they’re the early-adopters to tech like this,' Hagen said—but sweat monitoring has uses 'across all of the DoD [Department of Defense] assets.' The goal is to make real-time analysis of sweat biomarkers a field capability. This analysis could mean preventing dehydration among infantry, an area of intense focus for all service branches, he said.

'Overexertion is a big thing in the military,' Hagen said. 'Our men and women train very hard in some harsh environments. Hydration and heat stresses are huge for us right now.'"

*Excerpt from Bloomberg article, "Why the Air Force Wants to See Pilots’ Sweat" by Justin Bachman

Eccrine Systems produces a small electronic patch that can monitor the contents of sweat

Eccrine Systems produces a small electronic patch that can monitor the contents of sweat

The Washington Post reports*:

"'This is the hard-science end of wearables,' said Robert Beech, chairman and co-founder of Eccrine Systems.

Beech and Eccrine want to turn wearables into mini-laboratories like the kind that slice and dice your blood samples and tell you a million things such as whether you are at risk of prostate cancer or what your Vitamin D level is.

Eccrine’s technology will grab sweat as soon as it is secreted and gush a pile of data about your biochemical status to a collector — your smartphone or a cloud-based analytical system — that can search biomarkers that can alert the wearer to potential maladies.

'What blood results are for invasive medicine using needles, sweat has to be for noninvasive to get and measure cholesterol, cortisol, ovulation monitoring, fertility, reproductive health,' Beech said. 'It could be used to determine electrolyte loss, which can be used for cardiac patients.'

Beech said Eccrine is 18 months from producing its first wearable, either the wristband, headband or skin patch. One application the firm is working on is a headband that can go under a worker’s hard hat to measure chemical and environmental toxins. Think of the radiation badge that workers now wear to measure whether they are in a 'hot' zone."

*Excerpt from WP article, "Your sweat could tell you when to make a baby — and more" by Thomas Heath