SMART Bandages

I recently came across this in BBC News and found the concept extremely fascinating..

SMART (Sensing, Monitoring and Release of Therapeutics) bandages have the ability to analyse wounds. They work by glowing to indicate a wound’s tissue oxygenation concentration.

How does it work?

The key to these bandages is phosphors, a molecule that absorbs light and then emits it via phosphorescence. The bandage is applied by ‘painting’ it onto the skin”s surface as a viscous liquid which dries to a solid thin film within a minute. Once the first layer has fired, a transparent barrier layer is then applied onto to protect the film and slow the rat of oxygen exchange between the bandage and room air, thus making the bandage sensitive to the oxygen within tissue.

The final piece involves a camera-based readout device which performs two functions:

  • provides a burst of excitation light that triggers the emission of the phosphors inside the bandage
  • records the phosphors’ emission

The emitted light is bright enough that it can be acquired using a result camera or mobile phone, opening the possibility to a portable, field-opening device.

Immediate Applications

This includes monitoring patients with a risk of developing ischemic conditions, postoperative monitoring of skin grafts or flaps, and burn-depths determination as a guide for surgical debridement (the removal of dead or damaged tissue from the body).

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Thank you for reading.

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