3D Printed Epifluidics

Case ID:

Sweat-based biomarkers provide new, noninvasive means of acquiring and monitoring biological signals that were previously only accessible through invasive or costly lab-based measurements. Monitoring biodata such as sweat rate and sweat-based electrolyte concentration enable insight into health statuses such as hydration. Monitoring other metabolites, such as sweat glucose, lactate and pH enable at home diagnostic capabilities that can screen high risk patient populations. Current technologies for implementing these sensing structures rely heavily on time intensive tests executed by trained staff. Recent advances in fluid handling on the skin by utilization of microfluidics devices attached to the skin, called epifluidics, enable much improved fluid handling and analysis directly on the skin. The  fabrication processes, however, are difficult to translate and do not enable rapid prototyping and broad dissemination, a barrier to commercialization of these class of devices. Additionally, epifliudic platforms face many challenges towards daily application outside of controlled environments, particularly for long periods of application, as they rely heavily on the use of temporary adhesive backings and rigid materials that do not allow for flexible and conformal mechanical properties, impeding daily activity.

Creating epifluidics using 3D printing of elastomeric materials provides a low-cost and easily manufacturable method for producing these devices with accurate control over channel design and integration with electrical components, enabling continuous, quantitative detection of biomarkers not possible with current technology and with the use of adhesives, extending the functional lifetime and wearability of the system. FDM printing of these systems allow for flexibility in design with the ability to rapidly produce and manufacture these devices at a low cost and minimal capital investment. The impact of this technology enables broad dissemination of epifludic devices that are used in continuous applications.

Epifluidics is a growing industry in medical monitoring and eccrine sweat is currently used and researched to understand more about medical conditions in the human body. The disclosed technology uses 3D printing to form the 3D channels that collect sweat from the user and detect properties within the sweat. Furthermore, the 3D printing allows for integration with electronics and therefore automated, continuous biodata from the sweat.

This technology can also be employed in conjunction with the 3D scanning and customizable electronic mesh technology developed by the same inventors to provide personalized wearable devices with a perfect fit to provide consistently accurate data for diagnostic, therapeutic and screening applications.


  • Medical studies
  • Chronic condition monitoring
  • Daily health monitoring


  • Low cost
  • Customizable
  • Accessible
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Jace Langen
Licensing Manager
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Philipp Gutruf
Tucker Stuart