A fashionable chemical and biological threat detector-on-a-ring

October 11, 2017, American Chemical Society
A first-of-its kind ring sensor can detect chemical and biological threats. Credit: American Chemical Society

Wearable sensors are revolutionizing the tech-world, capable of tracking processes in the body, such as heart rates. They're even becoming fashionable, with many of them sporting sleek, stylish designs. But wearable sensors also can have applications in detecting threats that are external to the body. Researchers now report in ACS Sensors a first-of-its kind device that can do just that. And to stay fashionable, they've designed it as a ring.

According to a global analyst firm called CCS Insight, will be a $34 billion industry by 2020. Wearable chemical sensors currently in development include those made in the form of tattoos, mouth guards, wristbands and headbands, but all of these types of sensors face challenges. For example, a sweat sensor worn on an arm could be useful, but patients would need to produce enough sweat for the device to be successful. There is a demand for sensors that are compact, affordable, noninvasive and can be incorporated into everyday life. But more advanced can be costly and difficult to produce. Joseph Wang and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego wanted to develop a portable, affordable, that would detect external chemical threats.

The team designed their sensor as a ring that can be worn on a finger. The ring has two parts, an electrochemical sensor cap for detecting chemical and , and a circuit board under the cap for processing and sending data wirelessly to a smartphone or laptop. It can perform voltammetric and chronoamperometric measurements, which allow the ring to detect a wide array of chemical threats. The team exposed the prototype to explosives and organophosphate nerve agents, both in vapor and liquid phases. The ring was highly selective and sensitive. Although this -based sensor was designed to detect explosives and organophosphate nerve agents, the researchers say the device could be expanded to other hazardous environmental or security agents.

Explore further: 'Lab-on-a-glove' could bring nerve-agent detection to a wearer's fingertips

More information: Wearable Ring-Based Sensing Platform for Detecting Chemical Threats, ACS Sensors (2017). pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acssensors.7b00603

Related Stories

Team developing wearable tech for disease monitoring

August 6, 2014

A new wearable vapor sensor being developed at the University of Michigan could one day offer continuous disease monitoring for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia or lung disease.

Recommended for you

1 in 3 Michigan workers tested opened fake 'phishing' email

March 16, 2018

Michigan auditors who conducted a fake "phishing" attack on 5,000 randomly selected state employees said Friday that nearly one-third opened the email, a quarter clicked on the link and almost one-fifth entered their user ...

World's biggest battery in Australia to trump Musk's

March 16, 2018

British billionaire businessman Sanjeev Gupta will built the world's biggest battery in South Australia, officials said Friday, overtaking US star entrepreneur Elon Musk's project in the same state last year.

Origami-inspired self-locking foldable robotic arm

March 15, 2018

A research team of Seoul National University led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho has developed an origami-inspired robotic arm that is foldable, self-assembling and also highly-rigid. (The researchers include Suk-Jun Kim, Dae-Young ...

Tokyo Tech's six-legged robots get closer to nature

March 12, 2018

A study led by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) has uncovered new ways of driving multi-legged robots by means of a two-level controller. The proposed controller uses a network of so-called non-linear ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.