Smartphone-controlled bandage developed for chronic wound healing

Engineering

Scientists have developed an innovative new type of smart bandage that can be controlled by a smartphone.

Created by a team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the bandage is made from electrically conductive fibres coated in a gel that can be individually loaded with different medications.

“Researchers have developed a new smart bandage that releases precise amounts of medication when activated by a smartphone.“

It also incorporates a microcontroller the size of a postage stamp, which can be activated by a smartphone or other wireless device, sending a small charge through a chosen fibre to release the medication it holds.

A single bandage could accommodate multiple medications, including antibiotics, tissue-regenerating growth factors and painkillers, with each bandage tailored to specific wounds. This allows dosing and delivery schedules to be tightly controlled.

Although it could take several years for this product to reach the market, it has a number of potential applications, such as medicating chronic skin wounds related to diabetes or treating battlefield injuries.

Ali Tamayol, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Nebraska, said: "This is a platform that can be applied to many different areas of biomedical engineering and medicine."

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