Stanford develops new wearable sensor to detect stress hormones

Stress is one of the worst things about the human body, as it can literally remove years from your life. It seems that some researchers from Stanford may have found a new way to monitor stress hormones.

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What is interesting about this new method is that the new sensor analyzes your sweat. Essentially, you put the sensor on your body, similar to that of a removable tattoo.

Then, the wearable creates a “reservoir” of sweat, and then analyzes your cortisol levels. This method is called “passive sweat wicking”, but there are some downsides to the sensor.

Stanford states that the wearer’s skin must “glisten”, which means that you’ll need to work up quite the sweat. It also won’t work in just day-to-day usage, unless you’re someone who hits the gym or sauna every day.

The other issue with this new wearable sensor is that it is still in the prototype phase. Stanford states that the prototype “appears to work”, but there are still some more quirks to work out.

These include improving reliability and accuracy, as those factors are of utmost importance. On the bright side, Stanford also states that the current prototype could be used repeatedly. More testing is required to see if waterlogging becomes an issue.

The biggest reason why this new wearable sensor is so impressive and important is that it is wearable. This creates a non-invasive method for you to track stress levels without needing to be prodded or pricked by a doctor.

In the first few series of tests, the report states that the prototype was tested with “several runners”. The data obtained matched the same data provided by an ELISA test, which takes a few hours.

While some may think this is a major breakthrough, there is still a lot of work to be done. In addition to the aforementioned issues, more testing is needed to see how the sensor will work in different temperatures.

We want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think about this new wearable sensor. Do you think that the sensor will end up becoming “mainstream”? Or is this just another drop in the pan that will fizzle out?

It will be interesting to see what Stanford comes up with, in the coming months in this field.

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my day job, I advise fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health&fitness-tech evolution and keep a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.


  1. Nearly every chronic disease is being found to be triggered by stress. I see this huge for those folks, and since stress is such a big factor in our culture, this seems to be something even healthy people will want to monitor so that they don’t start becoming chronically ill.


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