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This wearable patch uses sweat to tell athletes their hydration needs

Although dehydration by analyzing electrolytes is the first indication it is pursuing, it is also interested in other areas.

This article has been updated from an earlier version.

When it comes to measuring the levels of things like glucose and lactic acid, sweat can be an effective and noninvasive source of these and other biomarkers to gauge health. A couple of entrepreneurs behind GraphWear want to use sweat data to help professional sports teams, college athletics and the amateur athletes among us avoid dehydration and optimize their performance.

In a presentation at DreamIt Health‘s demo day, GraphWear Co-founder Rajatesh Gudibande noted that it is setting up a pilot of its sweat patch with 10 athletes from University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Lehigh University.

The fundamental need it has identified: athletes need to know when to drink water and how much they need.

Although dehydration by analyzing electrolytes is the first indication it is pursuing, it is also interested in other areas. It has done proof-of-concept for its patch sensors to measure lactic acid and glucose levels in sweat. It also sees a way to measure levels of uric acid in sweat as an indicator for gout.

The patch is worn on the sweatiest part of the body according to Gudibande — the lower back.  The graphene sensor in the patch syncs with a smartphone app using Bluetooth. It sees interest from tech companies like Samsung and HP Wearables to integrate its sensor.

It seeks to raise $750,000 to $1 million to hire two engineers, develop a small scale fabrication facility and launch its hydration patch.

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Soon after it sets up a production facility next year, it plans to sell the patch for $99, with a replacement sweat patch estimated at 50 cents each.

But it also sees potential for its technology to identify biometric markers in saliva, breath, and ear wax.