The so-called ‘smart’ bandages

Work conducted at Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science is aiming to produce a bandage which can detect how wounds are healing and convey this information to doctors.

Through a combination of 5G nano-technology, which can sense the state of the wound at any given time, and the use of smart phones, to relay information about where the patient is and how active they are, this concept will provide doctors with a vast amount of information they never previously were able to have, and could help identify not only when a wound has healed fully, but also if there are early signs of infection, which may delay healing. Consequently, if the infection is treated with antibiotics before it becomes a problem, then it would speed up healing the for the patient, mean the wound is less likely to cause potential problems in the future, and save the NHS money in caring for the patient.

This is a very exciting idea, as it would allow clinicians to tailor treatment to the wound and individual person. In addition, if trials of the bandage are successful, it could also pave the way for bandages which are able to treat patients (for example, bandages with gel could react to environment surrounding wound and detect whether more gel needs to be released to hydrate wound more, or if gel needs to be reduced).

Such bandages could be produced by 3D printers to reduce costs, which again would benefit the NHS massively.

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