Design and Characterization of an Osmotic Sensor for the Detection of Events Associated with Dehydration and Overhydration

Luís André Fernandes, Philipp Häfliger, Senior Member, IEEE, Mehdi Azadmehr and Erik Johannessen

Design and Characterization of an Osmotic Sensor for the Detection of Events Associated With Dehydration and Overhydration

The level of hydration in the human body is carefully adjusted to control the electrolyte balance that governs the biochemical processes that sustain life. An electrolyte deficiency caused by de- or overhydration will not only limit human performance, but can also lead to serious health problems and death if left untreated. Since humans can withstand a change in hydration of only ± 20%, frequent monitoring should be performed in risk groups. This article presents an osmotic hydration sensor which can record the level of hydration as a function of osmotic pressure in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) or sodium-chloride solutions that simulate the interstitial fluid in the body. The osmotic pressure is recorded with the aid of an ion-exchange membrane that facilitates the migration of water and cations, in favor of reverse osmosis (RO) or gas separation membranes. The hydration sensor is designed to be coupled to an inductively powered read out circuit designed for integration in a micro-implant that has previously been shown to consume only 76µW of power. The dynamic range spans a state of serious overhydration (220 mOsm L-1) to a serious state of dehydration (340 mOsm L-1) with a response time of approximately 7 hours (for a variation of hydration of 20%).

View full article


See complete bios of the authors in the full version of this article.

LA FernandesLA Fernandes
Mr. Fernandes is currently employed as a Ph.D. student at Vestfold University College focusing on the development of biosensors and their nanoelectronic interface. He received his MSc degree from the University of Lisbon in 2009.

P HäfligerP Häfliger
Dr. Häfliger is currently employed as an Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, Norway. His research has focused on neuromorphic electronics and ultra-low-power ASIC design for biomedical devices and wireless microimplants.

M AzadmehrM Azadmehr
Dr. Azadmehr is an Associate Professor at Vestfold University College, Horten, Norway. His main research areas are within the field of analog electronics with a focus on interface circuits and organic electronics.

E JohannessenE Johannessen
Dr. Johannessen is currently employed as Professor at Vestfold University College with the aim to establish world class research activities within BioMEMS, with focus on bio and nanoelectronics, mobile analytical devices and in-vivo powered microsystems.

Editorial Comments

This is a well designed experiment of a novel sensor with important human potential.

JTEHM 2013Issue

This article appeared in the 2013 issue of IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine.
View all articles on IEEE Xplore


Scope Statement

We focus on innovative solutions to healthcare needs from biomedical engineering, clinical engineering, and medical communities that bridge the engineering and clinical worlds. JTEHM's unique scope is original work at the intersection of engineering and clinical translation.

The journal’s focus is interdisciplinary collaborations among researchers, healthcare providers, and industry. We publish results and best practices from these translational efforts and serve as a community hub for researchers, clinicians, and developers who are addressing challenges in technology development, commercialization, and deployment for better global healthcare. Our ultimate goal is to improve the practice of engineering in translational medicine and to serve as a focal point for the nascent community. Our interactive content includes video, lively commentary, blogs, and other features to engage our clinical and engineering communities.