Wearable, portable medical devices are already in extensive use, with most used to monitor physiological data, such as heart rates, respiration, EEG, and electrodermal activity (EDA), but none monitor bioactivity within the human system. While there are biosensors being used to detect abnormal biochemical activity, they are usually limited to one use only and don’t have any flexibility in monitoring different biomarkers.
Researchers from MIT’s Media Lab have seemingly overcome those obstacles, and have designed a device that can monitor multiple biomarkers just by testing a patient’s saliva. Their Lab on Body platform uses digital and paper-based biochemical sensors to monitor various biomarkers and has an automated system that continuously samples saliva to look for any abnormalities.
The researchers designed their Lab on Body, which is worn on the face, using a saliva acquisition module that siphons in spit and transfers it over to rolled multiplexed biochemical sensors. Once the sample reacts with those sensors, an RGB color sensors reads the output data and converts it to a biomarker value to help determine any abnormalities. The used sensor is then switched-out to a new one in the roll, and the process repeats.
According to the Media Lab researchers, “The platform consists of three main components: a paper-based biochemical sensor cartridge, a saliva acquisition, and sensing module, and a smartphone application to store and analyze the data.” It’s currently unknown if the team has done any extensive testing with the Lab on Body, or how far along they’ve come in the development process, but they are expected to release a paper to IEEE Engineering for Biology and Medicine Society sometime soon, which should answer those questions.