Last updateWed, 13 Jan 2021 10am

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Low cost and reusable wearable sensors

Scientists at the CSIC have developed new portable and non-invasive sensors for monitoring biomarkers such as glucose, lactate or alcohol. They are based on wireless electro chromic and electrochemical sensors, and they can be used to detect metabolites in biological fluids, either human fluids (sweat, urine…) or in fluids derived from food products (e.g., leaking).

Prototype of the wireless sensor. (Image: IMB-CNM/CSIC)The sensors can be produced by conventional methods at low cost. Therefore, it is possible to integrate them in many applications and at low cost. Now, the scientists are seeking industrial partners.

Wearable sensors can facilitate the detection and monitoring of biomarkers in a non-invasive way. Nevertheless, their use on biological fluids raises technological challenges related to their production, performance and life cycle.

The sensors developed by the CSIC scientists at the Instituto de Microelectrónica de Barcelona can be manufactured at large amounts by conventional methods. Therefore, they can be easily implemented on many devices, such as smart patches, food packaging or textile applications.

They can be implemented in several forms such as skin patches, smart labels, food packaging or sensing RFID tags

The sensors are actuated by a radiofrequency signal. A electrochromic transducer provides information on the concentration of the target analyte by a change of colour.

The colour change can be seen by the naked eye, which indicates whether the target is present or not. For a quantitative result, the system can be complemented with a system of image analysis, such as a mobile camera or a photo detector.

The scientists have tested the system for glucose analysis. It can be apply also for detecting lactate, alcohol or other molecules, in several formats including skin patches, smart labels, food packaging or sensing RFID tags.


Isabel Gavilanes
Deputy Vice-Presidency for
Knowledge Transfer
Spanish National Research
Council (CSIC)
Tel.: +34 – 93 594 77 00
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