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Scientists create sweat-monitoring underwear, break them in (video)

Sean Hollister
06.21.10
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Biochip bracelets be damned -- nanoengineers at UC San Diego want to put sensors in your skivvies. Researchers have begun prototyping a pair of tighty-whiteys coated with the requisite carbon electrodes to make electrochemical computing a reality, as it turns out the nether regions are a prime place to measure chemicals excreted in one's sweat. Until recently, there was some question whether the enzyme sensor solution would handle the stresses of daily life, so to speak, but these briefs were up to the task -- subjected to a torturous gauntlet of bending and stretching, a treated elastic waistband was still able to adequately measure chemicals as required. Funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, project leaders envision "smart underwear" that measures a soldier's sweat for warning signs and automatically trigger an appropriate medical dosage. We think they might be getting a wee bit ahead of themselves, though -- we don't yet know how they handle detergent, let alone a quality color-safe bleach. Video after the break, but don't expect any footage of the underpants actually being worn.



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