Friday, August 26, 2016

Jacobs School alumnus named to MIT Tech Review 35 list

Wei Gao, who earned his PhD in the research group of nanoengineering professor Joe Wang here at the Jacobs School, has been named to the MIT Tech Review's list of Top 35 Innovators Under 35, better known as the TR 35.

Gao, 31, is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. There he continues to work on technologies similar to those developed by the Center for Wearable Sensors, led by Wang here at the Jacobs School.

In January 2016, he was first author on a Nature paper titled "Fully integrated wearable sensor arrays for multiplexed in situ perspiration analysis." The study received broad media coverage, including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Wired and many other outlets.

Essentially, Gao and colleagues built a sweatband that combines sensors with electronic processors and a Bluetooth transmitter on a flexible printed circuit board. The device wirelessly transmits data about what's in your sweat to an app on your cell phone.

Gao told MIT Tech Review:

“I grew up in a small village in Xuzhou, China. When I was a child I saw a lot of people around me dying of different diseases. Many people don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. I thought, in the future I should design a wearable electronic device to monitor health and tell us what’s going on and what’s going wrong before it gets bad.

“Our body is generating data all the time. There are so many wearable devices now—the Apple watch, the Fitbit—but they mainly track physical activities or vital signs. They can’t provide information at the molecular level.

“It came into my mind: what about sweat?”

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