A mouthguard for athletes who can measure fatigue
Scientists from Xerox Parc, a large research and development center, have developed a ‘smart’ mouthguard with a biosensor. This gives information about the physical condition in sports such as fatigue and dehydration.
To measure fatigue in athletes, the level of lactate in the blood is often measured. This is created in the muscles and increases as the intensity of the training is higher. If the amount of lactate is too high, an athlete can become exhausted. It is of course not possible to carry out blood tests during sports, and that is why scientists came up with something else.
Lactate is not only in the blood, but also in saliva. Even saliva could therefore be read how it is with the fatigue of an athlete is posed. The idea of the researchers was to develop a mouth guard that can analyze saliva. Together with NextFlex and the University of California, they continue this plan.
The sensor is made of electronic plastic film and fits in regular bits. With an electrochemical technique, concentrations of lactate and glucose in the saliva can be accurately measured. The electrodes are interchangeable with electrodes that can analyze other substances such as glucose and uric acid. The electrodes are protected against the saliva by a kind of capsule. The batteries are wirelessly rechargeable, so that the electrodes are not touched. The next step is to make multiple models and test them in the mouth.
Even bits, the simple mouthguards made of plastic, can therefore be made smart.