October 09, 2017
Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have designed a prototype smart bandage. Yes, you heard it right! After smartphones, smart watches, smart cities and everything smart, here comes smart bandages!
It is believed that the smart bandage could eventually heal chronic wounds through the medically coated fibers in the bandage. The smart bandage is made up of electrically conductive fibers. It comes with a coat of gel that can be individually filled with infection-fighting antibiotics, growth factors, painkillers and a lot more.
The usual bandages have plain sterile cotton or other fibers. But here, this is made smart with a dressing containing composite fibers with a core electrical heater covered by a layer of hydrogel containing thermoresponsive drug carriers. Wow, that should say it all!
When applied, it acts like a normal bandage, protecting the user’s injury from exposure and so on. But it gets interesting with the microcontroller. Using an app, or an onboard timer, or conceivably sensors woven into the bandage, the microcontroller sends a voltage through certain fibers, warming them and activating the medications lying dormant in the hydrogel.
This also means that more voltage, more medication. Also, each fiber can carry a different one. One could already list out situations where you can use them. Be it a remote environment, a battlefield, or a wild forest, the smart bandage can protect you till you reach hospital.