Not staying hydrated? Maybe you need this microchip.

Researchers at DOE/Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have created a chip, which is smaller than the size of a watch, that will be able to tell you if you’re running low on electrolytes. (To learn more about electrolytes, read my blog post about them here.)

From my understanding, the chip painlessly attaches into the upper levels of the skin and then checks the fluids between your skin cells for your electrolyte levels. The chip will be able to continuously monitor the cells and can alert you if you’re running low on those essential proteins.

This sensor may just be able to detect electrolyte levels now, but the potential uses for this type of wearable/implantable technology is endless. If there is already a working prototype for electrolyte levels, I cannot wait to see how multi-functional medical devices will be in the next decade.

You can read the full press release from Sandia National Laboratories here.

Photo by Randy Montoya

Photo by Randy Montoya

“Sandia National Laboratories researcher Ronen Polsky holds a prototype of a microneedle fluidic chip device able to selectively detect and painlessly measure electrolytes in the interstitial fluids that bathe skin cells. It features nine sampling needles, each only 800 millionths of a meter (microns) in height, and beneath them, a fluidic channel that can draw interstitial fluid over nine gold disk electrodes. Each disk can be tailored to detect a different analyte. The visible rectangular gold pads are electrical contacts.”

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