Pioneering Brisbane healthtech company WearOptimo has started clinical trials of its hydration sensor, marking a significant step in bringing this game-changing product to market.
The hydration Microwearable sensor is designed to monitor for signs of dehydration.
WearOptimo founder and CEO Professor Mark Kendall said dehydration was often an underestimated problem, with many people unaware even relatively mild cases could have the same cognitive impact as being drunk.
“To make matters worse, the signals in our body that tell us to hydrate start to deteriorate as we get older,” he said. “It’s estimated about one in four hospitalisations of older people may be related to dehydration.”
The clinical study of WearOptimo’s sensor is being conducted at QUT.
Volunteers wearing the sensors are continuously monitored while being put through tests of physical exertion in high temperatures, in a dehydration-rehydration protocol. The outputs are being compared to traditional measurements, such as blood draws, made at regular time intervals. The study is being performed with healthy volunteers.
“These trials are a huge milestone for WearOptimo,” said Professor Kendall. “They are critical on our path to rapidly advance our Microwearable sensor products, helping to address key health challenges.”
The novel Microwearable sensors have microscopic electrodes – invisible to the naked eye – designed to penetrate just the outer skin layer to measure biomarkers, painlessly, continuously and in real-time.
“The skin is an amazing barrier. While doing its job, it blocks the bulk of the signals today’s typical wearables are trying to measure,” said Professor Kendall. “Our solution aims to overcome this constraint and open up next generation insights from a wearables perspective.”
At present, there are few practical ways to monitor hydration, save the imprecise method of asking people to monitor the colour of their urine.
WearOptimo’s hydration monitor has wide applications across mining, aged care, construction, and sport where dehydration can have a major impact but is notoriously difficult to monitor.
“The vision for WearOptimo is to develop affordable wearable technology that offers early intervention and personalised monitoring to help people stay well and productive in their day to day lives,” said Professor Kendall.