A prototype ‘smart bandage’ has been developed by researchers at Tufts University, Medford, US to observe chronic wounds and deliver treatment. It is made from a re-usable microprocessor, and disposable sensors and gel attached to medical tape which together create a 3mm thick bandage. pH and temperature, indicators of infection and inflammation, are monitored by the sensors and read by the microprocessor. The microprocessor can then release drugs on demand by heating the gel. Tests under controlled conditions have been successful, and now pre-clinical studies have begun to determine the clinical advantages of the smart bandage.
Persistent infections can be caused by wounds from burns and diabetes among other medical conditions which could lead to the need for amputation as the regenerative capabilities of the skin are overwhelmed. Patients are frequently older, bedridden and/or can only provide limited self-care, yet despite this non-healing wounds are often treated outside of a hospital or even at home. There is a potential for smart bandages to provide real-time monitoring and delivery of treatment with only minimal intervention or assistance from the patient or carer.
“A prototype ‘smart bandage’ has been developed by researchers at Tufts University, Medford, US to observe chronic wounds and deliver treatment. “
Sameer Sonkusale, PhD professor at Tufts University, said: “We’ve been able to take a new approach to bandages because of the emergence of flexible electronics, in fact, flexible electronics have made many wearable medical devices possible, but bandages have changed little since the beginnings of medicine. We are simply applying modern technology to an ancient art in the hopes of improving outcomes for an intractable problem.”