Breaking a sweat

Bringing personalized sports fueling recommendations to everyday athletes.

Gatorade

  • Client
    Gatorade
  • Industry
    Health & Fitness, Sports, Wearable Tech
  • Services
    Customer Research, UX Design, Technical Development, Industrial Design
  • Client
    Gatorade

    Industry
    Health & Fitness, Sports, Wearable Tech
  • Services
    Customer Research, UX Design, Technical Development, Industrial Design

Gatorade’s Gx Sweat Patch and app bring sweat testing, personalized sports fueling, and recovery recommendations to all athletes without requiring a traditional lab.

This digital ecosystem combines wearable technology that captures an athlete’s sweat rate and electrolyte concentration directly from the skin with a smartphone app that processes the data using machine learning. Once the Sweat Patch’s data is collected via the app, an athlete’s sweat profile can be created. This is combined with scenario-specific details such as activity type, weather, intensity, and duration to generate personalized sports fueling recommendations before, during, and after exercise.

The Vision

Sweat testing uses costly, inaccessible equipment. Gatorade turned to Smart Design to transform this resource-intensive process into a wearable device that is fast, simple, and accessible to everyone.

How it works

The metrics

The Gx Sweat Patch was designed to be an unobtrusive and highly-functional sports accessory by accurately testing and intuitively displaying the two key elements of hydration analytics: sweat rate and electrolyte concentration.

The Patch

The flexible patch is less than a millimeter thick and adheres to the forearm to maintain watertight contact with the skin. As an athlete sweats, fluid is absorbed through tiny holes in the back of the patch, causing a reaction that displays data in two channels.

The channels

The sweat rate is visualized by an orange line that zig-zags across the patch as fluid is absorbed, and the sodium levels are shown by a line on the right side of the patch that changes shades of purple.

Processing the data

Using the Gx app, the qualitative data from the Sweat Patch can be captured and processed with a phone camera using image-recognition technology that was trained with machine learning. Three colored lines on the patch help the smartphone camera understand light levels to ensure accuracy.

Gatorade Sweat Patch Product Innovation

Case study

Gx Sweat Patch

Download our 1-pager on how we created an innovative ecosystem for Gatorade.
Gatorade Sweat Patch Product Innovation

Case study

Gx Sweat Patch

Download our 1-pager on how we created an innovative ecosystem for Gatorade.

The technology behind the data

The resulting sweat profile is combined with other athlete and activity data (such as weather, weight, duration, and workout intensity) via a proprietary algorithm to show the athlete’s fluid and nutritional needs. A second algorithm is utilized to match those needs to products in the Gatorade Ecosystem for each stage of the workout: preparation, performance, and recovery. These recommendations can be accessed in the app or sent as SMS notifications.

Developing the 
Gx Sweat Patch

The next stage of developing the Gx Sweat Patch was powered by insights and data gained over several years of working with more than 20 professional sports teams.

The manual sweat testing process undertaken by these pro teams needed to be designed, engineered, and productized in order to scale to everyday athletes.

A new type of sweat test

Concept sketches helped us break out of the mold of the traditional lab-based sweat test.

Initial prototypes

Working with HS and elite athletes, we tested many variations of patch formats and interactions.

Refining the experience

While the in-lab validation of the patch accuracy was conducted, the overall experience and app design was explored in parallel using prototype apps and service workflows. The experience was refined via multiple pilots with elite high school athletes and teams at IMG Academy in Bradenton FL.

Testing with everyday athletes

Refining the patch and app through in-context evaluative research.

Collection

Ecosystem innovation

Discover how Smart Design has helped companies innovate thorugh ecosystems.

Collection

Ecosystem innovation

Discover how Smart Design has helped companies innovate thorugh ecosystems.

The next steps

Gatorade’s Sweat Patch and app started public piloting in the fall of 2019. Early results have validated the vision and business case to democratize personalized sports fueling recommendations for everyday athletes — across any sport and weather condition.

For Gatorade, the new service has unlocked new business and partnership opportunities, while energizing the innovation in sports science ethos that the company was founded on.

When we started this journey with Smart Design, we always knew we would find an innovative solution to deliver personalized sports fueling and nutrition. What we didn’t expect were the many product and service applications that just kept presenting themselves as viable business growth opportunities —instead of one new product offering, we have an ecosystem of offerings.”

Chris Hintermeister

Director of Ecosystems and Digital Platforms, Gatorade

Gx Sweat Patch in the news