Most bandages protect, but there are a lot of new bandages coming onto the market that also accelerate healing.


Love the Exponential Future? Join our XPotential Community, future proof yourself with courses from XPotential University, read about exponential tech and trendsconnect, watch a keynote, or browse my blog.

If left untreated, chronic wounds such as diabetic skin ulcers can become infected, ultimately leading to amputations or even death. And now a first of a kind experimental “smart bandage” that’s designed to help keep that from happening, by both watching and treating such injuries, has been unveiled.


Scientists use swarms of nanobots to precisely target cancer


Taking the form of an electronic skin-adhered patch, the dressing is being developed at the California Institute of Technology by a team led by Asst. Prof. Wei Gao.

It incorporates a flexible, stretchable, biocompatible polymer substrate, on the underside of which is an array of sensory electrodes, a pair of voltage-modulated electrodes, and a layer of drug-loaded hydrogel. Mounted on top of that substrate is a small, flexible printed circuit board which contains electronics such as a battery, Bluetooth chip, and temperature sensor.

Once applied directly to a wound site, the bandage continuously uses its sensors to check the concentration of chemicals like uric acid, ammonium, glucose and lactate – plus it checks for changes in the wound’s pH and temperature – all of which are indicators of infection or inflammation.


Magnetic human skin breakthrough could lead to new types of wearables


If any such indicators are detected, the bandage responds by sending an alert to a nearby smartphone or other device. It also uses its voltage-modulated electrodes – a form of bioelectronic medicine – to trigger the release of medication from the hydrogel, and to deliver a low-voltage electrical current to the wound bed, stimulating the regrowth of new tissue.

In lab tests performed on rats, the technology proved to be successful at accurately relaying wound-status data, killing harmful bacteria such as E. coli, and at speeding the healing of chronic wounds similar to diabetic skin ulcers. Plans now call for human trials to be conducted.

“We have showed this proof of concept in small animal models, but down the road, we would like to increase the stability of the device but also to test it on larger chronic wounds because the wound parameters and microenvironment may vary from site to site,” said Gao.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Science Advances.

Source: Caltech

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *