, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 4553–4562 | Cite as

A wearable, cotton thread/paper-based microfluidic device coupled with smartphone for sweat glucose sensing

  • Gang Xiao
  • Jing He
  • Xiaodie Chen
  • Yan Qiao
  • Feng Wang
  • Qingyou Xia
  • Ling YuEmail author
  • Zhisong LuEmail author
Original Research


Development of wearable devices for in situ monitoring biological analytes in sweat has been fueled up in the past few years. Although microfluidic thread/paper-based analytical device (μTPAD) fulfills the requirements of wearable systems on flexibility and biocompatibility, it has not been employed as a sensing system for the in situ sweat analysis. In this work, we developed a wearable μTPAD containing a cotton thread and a functionalized filter paper for non-invasive, quantitative and in situ monitoring of human sweat glucose with the assistance of a smartphone. The oxygen plasma was applied to tailor the wicking property of the cotton thread. Amounts of enzymes and reagents on the filter papers were optimized to achieve the high-performance colorimetric sensing of glucose. The as-prepared device possesses a dynamic range of 50–250 μΜ and a detection limit of ~ 35 μΜ. Because of its great wearability and compatibility with conventional textile industry, the μTPAD was integrated with an arm guard to sensitively detect glucose in human sweat. This work may provide a low-cost, easy to use wearable device based on the cotton thread and filter paper for human sweat analysis.

Graphical abstract


Cotton thread Filter paper Microfluidic device Sweat analysis Glucose detection 



This work was financially supported by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XDJK2019B002) and Chongqing Engineering Research Center for Micro-Nano Biomedical Materials and Devices.

Supplementary material

10570_2019_2396_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1315 kb)


  1. Bariya M, Nyein HYY, Javey A (2018) Wearable sweat sensors. Nat Electron 1:160–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Choi J, Kang D, Han S, Kim SB, Rogers JA (2017a) Thin, soft, skin-mounted microfluidic networks with capillary bursting valves for chrono-sampling of sweat. Adv Healthc Mater 6:1601355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Choi J, Xue Y, Xia W, Ray TR, Reeder JT, Bandodkar AJ, Kang D, Xu S, Huang Y, Rogers JA (2017b) Soft, skin-mounted microfluidic systems for measuring secretory fluidic pressures generated at the surface of the skin by eccrine sweat glands. Lab Chip 17:2572–2580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Emaminejad S, Gao W, Wu E, Davies ZA, Nyein HYY, Challa S, Ryan SP, Fahad HM, Chen K, Shahpar Z, Talebi S, Milla C, Javey A, Davis RW (2017) Autonomous sweat extraction and analysis applied to cystic fibrosis and glucose monitoring using a fully integrated wearable platform. Proc Natl Acad Sci 114:4625–4630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gao W, Emaminejad S, Nyein HYY, Challa S, Chen K, Peck A, Fahad HM, Ota H, Shiraki H, Kiriya D, Lien DH, Brooks GA, Davis RW, Javey A (2016) Fully integrated wearable sensor arrays for multiplexed in situ perspiration analysis. Nature 529:509–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gonzalez A, Estala L, Gaines M, Gomez FA (2016) Mixed thread/paper-based microfluidic chips as a platform for glucose assays. Electrophoresis 37:1685–1690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kim J, Kim M, Lee MS, Kim KK, Ji SS (2017) Wearable smart sensor systems integrated on soft contact lenses for wireless ocular diagnostics. Nat Commun 8:14997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Koh A, Kang D, Xue Y, Lee S, Pielak RM, Kim J, Hwang T, Min S, Banks A, Bastien P, Manco MC, Wang L, Ammann KR, Jang KI, Won P, Han S, Ghaffari R, Paik U, Slepian MJ, Balooch G, Huang Y, Rogers JA (2016) A soft, wearable microfluidic device for the capture, storage, and colorimetric sensing of sweat. Sci Transl Med 8:366ra165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lee H, Choi TK, Lee YB, Cho HR, Ghaffari R, Wang L, Choi HJ, Chung TD, Lu N, Hyeon T, Choi SH, Kim D-H (2016) A graphene-based electrochemical device with thermoresponsive microneedles for diabetes monitoring and therapy. Nat Nanotech 11:566–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lee H, Hong YJ, Baik S, Hyeon T, Kim D-H (2018) Enzyme-based glucose sensor: from invasive to wearable device. Adv Healthc Mater 7:1701150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Li X, Tian J, Shen W (2010) Thread as a versatile material for low-cost microfluidic diagnostics. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Li B, Xiao G, Liu F, Qiao Y, Li CM, Lu Z (2018) A flexible humidity sensor based on silk fabrics for human respiration monitoring. J Mater Chem C 6:4549–4554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mao C, Zhang H, Lu Z (2017) Flexible and wearable electronic silk fabrics for human physiological monitoring. Smart Mater Struct 26:095033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Moyer J, Wilson D, Finkelshtein I, Wong B, Potts R (2012) Correlation between sweat glucose and blood glucose in subjects with diabetes. Diabetes Technol Ther 14:398–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mu X, Xin X, Fan C, Li X, Tian X, Xu K, Zheng Z (2015) A paper-based skin patch for the diagnostic screening of cystic fibrosis. Chem Commun 51:6365–6368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nyein HY, Gao W, Shahpar Z, Emaminejad S, Challa S, Chen K, Fahad HM, Tai LC, Ota H, Davis RW, Javey A (2016) A wearable electrochemical platform for noninvasive simultaneous monitoring of Ca2+ and pH. ACS Nano 10:7216–7224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Oh SY, Hong SY, Jeong YR, Yun J, Park H, Jin SW, Lee G, Oh JH, Lee H, Lee SS, Ha JS (2018) Skin-attachable, stretchable electrochemical sweat sensor for glucose and pH detection. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 10:13729–13740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Reches M, Mirica KA, Dasgupta R, Dickey MD, Butte MJ, Whitesides GM (2010) Thread as a matrix for biomedical assays. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2:1722–1728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Safavieh R, Zhou GZ, Juncker D (2011) Microfluidics made of yarns and knots: from fundamental properties to simple networks and operations. Lab Chip 11:2618–2624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sonner Z, Wilder E, Gaillard T, Kasting G, Heikenfeld J (2017) Integrated sudomotor axon reflex sweat stimulation for continuous sweat analyte analysis with individuals at rest. Lab Chip 17:2550–2560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tai LC, Gao W, Chao M, Bariya M, Ngo QP, Shahpar Z, Nyein HYY, Park H, Sun J, Jung Y, Wu E, Fahad HM, Lien DH, Ota H, Cho G, Javey A (2018) Methylxanthine drug monitoring with wearable sweat sensors. Adv Mater 30:e1707442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wang X, Li F, Cai Z, Liu K, Li J, Zhang B, He J (2018) Sensitive colorimetric assay for uric acid and glucose detection based on multilayer-modified paper with smartphone as signal readout. Anal Bioanal Chem 410:2647–2655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wu T, Xu T, Xu LP, Huang Y, Shi W, Wen Y, Zhang X (2016) Superhydrophilic cotton thread with temperature-dependent pattern for sensitive nucleic acid detection. Biosens Bioelectron 86:951–957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yang Y, Gao W (2019) Wearable and flexible electronics for continuous molecular monitoring. Chem Soc Rev. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Clean Energy and Advanced Materials, Faculty of Materials and EnergySouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome BiologySouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Chongqing Engineering and Technology Research Center for Novel Silk MaterialsSouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations