Bioengineers have developed a waterproof fabric that could drain away sweat, a study says.

The new fabric works like human skin, forming excess sweat into droplets that drain away by themselves, said inventor Tingrui Pan, professor of biomedical engineering.

One area of research at Pan's micro-nano innovations laboratory at UC Davis in California, US, is a field known as microfluidics, which focuses on making "lab on a chip" devices that use tiny channels to manipulate fluids.

Pan and his colleagues are developing such systems for applications like medical diagnostic tests, reports a daily.

Graduate students Siyuan Xing and Jia Jiang developed a new textile microfluidic platform using hydrophilic (water-attracting) threads stitched into a highly water-repellent fabric.

They were able to create patterns of threads that suck droplets of water from one side of the fabric, propel them along the threads and expel them from the other side.