Smart bandages are coming to a hospital near you

Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed ingenious bedsore-detecting smart bandages to help relieve pressure wounds and bedsores.

Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed ingenious bedsore-detecting smart bandages to help relieve pressure wounds and bedsores, both of which can be extremely unpleasant as well as dangerous.

Bedsores are more than just an inconvenience for the bedridden, as they can develop into lethal infections. Quite often when a bedsore is detected, it is already too late to reverse its effects. However, these smart bandages can detect tissue damage in the early stages – before it becomes apparent on the surface of the skin.

The bandages are embedded with flexible electronics that work to provide a spatial map of unhealthy tissue. They detect the electric charge that is released when cell membranes break down. Not only do these smart bandages have the potential to mitigate the suffering caused by bedsores, they could also inspire other forms of patient care.

At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, researchers have invented high-tech infection-fighting bandages capable of improving and accelerating the healing process.

Bandages can often act as unintended fertile grounds for dangerous microbes that can hinder healing and even cause other problems. This infection-fighting bandage is treated with animal collagen and progenitor cells, which contain special growth factor materials to help wounds heal faster and fight dangerous microbes. The bandages are further infused with special molecules called dendrimers, which also kill bacteria and potentially saving lives.

A revolutionary liquid bandaid design uses colour-changing technology, with reacting dyes, to give an accurate and quick reading of a wound’s condition.

Image credit: UC Berkley.