2018 – Wearable Sweat Rate Sensors for Human Thermal Comfort Monitoring
Authors: Jai Kyoung Sim, Sunghyun Yoon, Young-Ho Cho
We propose watch-type sweat rate sensors capable of automatic natural ventilation by integrating miniaturized thermo-pneumatic actuators, and experimentally verify their performances and applicability. Previous sensors using natural ventilation require manual ventilation process or high-power bulky thermo-pneumatic actuators to lift sweat rate detection chambers above skin for continuous measurement. The proposed watch-type sweat rate sensors reduce operation power by minimizing expansion fluid volume to 0.4 ml through heat circuit modeling. The proposed sensors reduce operation power to 12.8% and weight to 47.6% compared to previous portable sensors, operating for 4 hours at 6 V batteries. Human experiment for thermal comfort monitoring is performed by using the proposed sensors having sensitivity of 0.039 (pF/s)/(g/m2h) and linearity of 97.9% in human sweat rate range. Average sweat rate difference for each thermal status measured in three subjects shows (32.06 ± 27.19) g/m2h in thermal statuses including ‘comfortable’, ‘slightly warm’, ‘warm’, and ‘hot’. The proposed sensors thereby can discriminate and compare four stages of thermal status. Sweat rate measurement error of the proposed sensors is less than 10% under air velocity of 1.5 m/s corresponding to human walking speed. The proposed sensors are applicable for wearable and portable use, having potentials for daily thermal comfort monitoring applications.