Smartphone based health accessory for colorimetric detection of biomarkers in sweat and saliva

Lab Chip. 2013 Aug 21;13(16):3232-8. doi: 10.1039/c3lc50431j. Epub 2013 Jun 19.


The mobile health market is rapidly expanding and portable diagnostics tools offer an opportunity to decrease costs and increase the availability of healthcare. Here we present a smartphone based accessory and method for the rapid colorimetric detection of pH in sweat and saliva. Sweat pH can be correlated to sodium concentration and sweat rate in order to indicate to users the proper time to hydrate during physical exercise and avoid the risk of muscle cramps. Salivary pH below a critical threshold is correlated with enamel decalcification, an acidic breakdown of calcium in the teeth. We conduct a number of human trials with the device on a treadmill to demonstrate the ability to monitor changes in sweat pH due to exercise and electrolyte intake and predict optimal hydration. Additionally, we perform trials to measure salivary pH over time to monitor the effects of diet on oral health risks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cell Phone*
  • Colorimetry / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Diet
  • Electrolytes / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications
  • Motor Activity
  • Oral Health
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Sweat / chemistry*
  • Water / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Electrolytes
  • Water