Researchers have invented sensor-based noninvasive medical devices to make the monitoring and treatment of certain physiological and psychological conditions timelier and more precise.

Noninvasive, repeated monitoring of uric acid (UA) levels in human sweat over long periods of time could enable the unprecedented diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis of several conditions including anxiety and hypertension.

The team developed EPICS, which are flexible and noninvasive sensors that monitor uric acid in human sweat. They created the sensors from zinc oxide, a nontoxic, biocompatible and electrochemically active material.

The design allows the possibility of noninvasive monitoring of UA with a boosted performance by otherwise wasted mechanical energy, such as that from the human body. The fundamental piezo-electrocatalytic principles can also be extended to other piezoelectric materials with catalytic properties for high-performance sensing in the biomedical, pharmaceutical and agricultural areas.

They demonstrated that the EPICS devices achieve a fourfold enhancement in the UA sensing performance with a small compressive strain boosted by piezo-electrocatalysis during the electrochemical oxidation of UA on the surfaces of mechanically deformed zinc oxide nanorods. (Image credit: Purdue Research Foundation photo/Jennifer Mayberry)

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