2017 – A wearable sweat rate sensor to monitor the athletes’ performance during training
Authors: P. Salvo, A. Pingitore, A. Barbini, F. Di Francesco
We developed a wearable sensor for the real time measurement of sweat rate in localized areas of the human body. This sensor represents the first step in the development of a wearable sensor network capable to estimate the global sweat rate via an ad hoc algorithm. Such device would be used to monitor athletes’ hydration status during training and improve their performances.
Equipment and methods
For this study, we tested our sensor on thirteen football players during a cycling test on a cycle ergometer. The sweat rate sensor was compared to a medical device that, although measuring a different physiological process, provides discrete data based on the same working principle, i.e. the diffusion of the water vapour emitted from the skin.
Our sensor has a working range up to 400 g/m2·h. The statistical analysis and the Bland-Altman plot proved that our sensor is comparable to the medical device used as gold standard. At low sweat rate, the bias is 3.4 g/m2·h with a standard deviation of 7.6 g/m2·h. At maximum sweat rates, the bias is 2.3 g/m2·h with a standard deviation 6.9 g/m2·h. The P-values for the Bland-Altman plots at low and maximum sweat rate (0.1331 and 0.2477 obtained by Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, respectively) allow the hypothesis that there is a significant difference between our sweat rate sensor and the medical device to be rejected.
We presented a prototype of a wearable sweat rate sensor for localized measurements. The trials on thirteen athletes proved that the performance of our sensor is comparable to that of a commercial medical device. This sweat rate sensor can provide valuable information on athletes’ hydration status.