Dermot Diamond, a Professor of materials and sensor science at the Dublin City University has worked on intriguing projects such as clothes which can change as per the wearer’s body heat as well as sensors which can simply measure sweat. He has looked for and investigated many materials and found that a soft gel or polymer can respond to the presence of a stimulus, be it expanding or contracting as per temperature changes or changing colours when exposed to a certain chemical or light. He then made use of such materials to make sensors which can pick up signals from human body or the environment and also provide alerts as to the changes.
The sensors can be used for a variety of purposes. For instance, one may need sensors to monitor pollution in water or find out how landfills will respond to build up of gas. Diamond, along with his team is looking to build sensors that can be used to track a body’s biochemistry. Therefore they are looking to build non-invasive sensors which can monitor even the fluid of the eye which can tell us things about the body such as blood sugar. They are looking to make sensors which can monitor all bodily fluids including sweat. They are looking to measure these with chemical sensors on contact lenses.
They have recently discovered that tiny microfluidic chips can be made using soft materials and which are more compatible with the human body as compared to hard materials from which chips are usually made from. The team has found a way to make use of light to 3D print minuscule channels which are expected to open new doors of opportunities and possibilities for the sensors to track biochemistry in a non-invasive manner when used or embedded in wearable devices.