No more shirking! Prototype wearable can tell if you’re pushing it to the limit

chem phys patch lactate wearable news
Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego
A team of engineers and scientists at the University of California San Diego have made a prototype wearable which may take the guesswork out of getting the most from your workout. Rather than just tracking steps or heart rate, it knows how much lactate the body is producing — an essential indicator of how hard your muscles are working during exercise.

It’s called the Chem-Phys patch, and it doesn’t stop at just measuring lactate. The wearable also has electrocardiogram (EKG) sensors, which combined with the lactate results, extends the patch’s usefulness out of sports tracking, and into medicine. The two data sets could help- physicians identify, prevent, or manage cardiovascular disease.

The sensors are mounted on a flexible sheet of polyester, which is thin enough to be directly worn on the skin, with a water-resistant silicone layer protecting the EKG sensors from sweat, but not the lactate sensor. Using Bluetooth, the data is sent to a smartphone or computer, ready for real-time analysis by a doctor or trainer. Various prototypes have been produced, where scientists worked on finding the correct distance between the sensors to ensure they didn’t interfere with each other.

Our bodies produce lactate when muscles require lots of energy very quickly, and is therefore helpful to measure how we’re coping when exercising very hard, and is also used when people are being kept alive on life support machines, where it’s an important metric for improving chances of recovery. It’s measured through our sweat, but a wearable hasn’t been made that collects the data yet. The Chem-Phys patch may end up being the template for incorporating this into a wearable, wireless device. The team has tested it on three people so far, and has found the EKG is equally as accurate as ones found on fitness bands already.

The Chem-Phys patch is not about to become a product we can buy just yet, but the team says it has already had interest in the device from Olympians, which should help push the product forward. However, the next stage is to add additional sensors for measuring other chemicals produced by the body, potentially making it even more useful.

Product Review

The segment-bending 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an SUV in a track suit

For the 2020 model year, Porsche is expanding the third-generation Cayenne lineup with a more stylish Coupe-badged model. It's lower than a regular Cayenne, a little bit wider, and it wears a more muscular design.
Mobile

Amazon is reportedly building a wearable that can track your emotions

Amazon may be looking to enter the wearable space. According to a new report, Amazon is looking into building a wearable device that can track a user's emotions, which would be a first for a fitness-tracking device.
Emerging Tech

Future smart clothes promise to keep you the perfect temperature at all times

Regulating your body temperature can sometimes be tough. Engineers from UC San Diego have developed heating and cooling wearable tech which could be embedded into future smart clothing.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Deals

The Garmin Forerunner 35 gets a $50 price slash on Amazon

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep track of your fitness goals, a fitness tracker might be just what you need. The Garmin Forerunner 35 is one of our all-time favorites, and it’s on sale right now for $120.
Apple

AirPods deal alert: Apple’s latest wireless earphones are at their lowest price

Apple just refreshed its AirPods, making an solid product even better. The newest AirPods make the case chargeable using Qi charging, always-on Siri, and better Bluetooth connectivity. While they're out of stock on Amazon, you can order now…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Deals

REI Anniversary Sale: Save big on these awesome Garmin smartwatches

If you’re in the market for a full-featured smartwatch that can do double duty as a detailed fitness tracker, look no further: For its Anniversary Sale, REI is offering savings of up to $150 on a few of the best Garmin fitness watches.
Wearables

Samsung adds One UI and battery boosts to Galaxy Watch and Gear smartwatches

Samsung has updated software for its Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and Gear S3 watches to implement its updated and simplified One UI interface. The update also offers new watch faces, battery life improvements, and health and fitness features.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for May 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Mobile

Google’s new $999 augmented reality smartglasses are ready for business

Google unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a new version of its business-focused augmented reality wearable. The company's smartglasses ship with a faster processor, an updated camera, and safety frames from Smith Optics.
Deals

REI cuts prices on Garmin Fenix 5 and Suunto 3 fitness smartwatches

REI is currently dropping prices on Garmin Fenix and Suunto smartwatches for its anniversary sale. With fitness tracking, GPS, and smartphone connectivity, a solid wearable is one of the best companions outdoorsmen could wish for.
Computing

Apple sends out invites for WWDC 2019, and unicorns are involved

Apple developers and fans alike look forward every year to the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, better known as WWDC. Apple has confirmed the conference will take place on June 3-7, and the company just sent out invites.
Deals

Apple Watches get steep smartwatch discounts for Memorial Day

If you've been thinking about picking up a new wearable, an Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches you can buy. With Memorial Day sales from Walmart and Amazon springing up all over the place, now is a great time to save.