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Cincinnati, OhioHydroLabs innovated a patch that can measure local sweat loss to approximate total body fluid loss. HydroLabs was spun out of the research project “Advanced Cognitive and Physical Sweat Biosensing for Operators” led by the University of Cincinnati and sponsored by the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN). The OFRN is managed by Parallax Advanced Research in collaboration with the Ohio State University and funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. 

Hydrolabs’ wearable patch for hydration guidance provides solutions for dehydration – a common problem affecting individuals who perform physically intensive tasks in industry, sports, or the military. Without an accurate method for determining fluid loss, individuals are left to determine hydration status or fluid replacement needs with outdated and inaccurate methods. When using these outdated techniques, athletes may underestimate fluid loss by up to 80%, leading to poor recovery and performance. 

“The lack of specific guidance on how much fluid to consume and when forms the core of this issue,” said Mikel Larson, founder, and chief executive officer of HydroLabs. “By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. In the military, each individual needs to be supported based on their specific need. A standard recommendation might fit the average hydration need but may not correctly support unique individual needs. As a result, some individuals may drink too much whereas others may not get enough. This impacts everything from cognitive decision-making to physical strength and reaction times. Our technology allows individuals to measure fluid loss, so they can accurately replace it.” 

In addition to funding the initial research for the Wearable Patch for Hydration Guidance, the Ohio Federal Research Network also funded the process of moving this technology from research project to product that can be manufactured at a small scale. This enabled early market testing and research of the product.  

“We are collaborating with commercial partners to bring the Hydrolabs patch to the athletics market,” said Larson. “We aim to be on the market in the next six months, in collaboration with partners around the world.” 

The Ohio Federal Research Network funded $915,001 in the Advanced Cognitive and Physical Sweat Biosensing for Operators research project. The funding leverages the program’s initial investment of $51.4 million provided by the State of Ohio. The program has funded 35 research projects to date that involve innovative collaboration amongst 21 universities and community colleges, and 97 industry partners throughout Ohio. These R&D projects have also attracted more than $354 million in funding for Ohio-based research from both federal and corporate sponsors.  The projects have also resulted in the creation of 13 Ohio companies and 12 intellectual properties with 2 pending. 

If you are an academic or industry innovator with promising ideas or intellectual property you'd like to commercialize, or you are interested in collaborating with our network on research projects, or you need assistance and/or academic or industry partners in pursuit of federal funding opportunities, then we want to hear from you! 



About Parallax Advanced Research 

Parallax is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that tackles global challenges by accelerating innovation and developing technology and solutions through strategic partnerships with government, industry, and academia across Ohio and the Nation. Together with academia, Parallax accelerates innovation that leads to breakthroughs. Together with the government, Parallax tackles critical global challenges and delivers new solutions. Together with industry, Parallax develops groundbreaking ideas and speeds them to market. 

About the Ohio Federal Research Network  

The Ohio Federal Research Network has the mission to stimulate Ohio’s innovation economy by building statewide university/industry research collaborations that meet the requirements of Ohio’s federal laboratories, resulting in the creation of technologies that drive job growth for the State of Ohio.  

About HydroLabs 

The team at HydroLabs has spent the last decade building the world’s most advanced sensors for use by athletes, industrial workers, and the military. Through many years of scientific research, prototype development, and product feedback they have determined the simplest method for addressing individual challenges in hydration. HydroLabs is focused on bringing the best possible products forward to help guide athletic hydration. The company envisions expansion into other markets where hydration is equally concerning.