Usually, when taking care of a cut or scrape, one has to change the bandage over and over a few times, and maybe apply healing cream there.
Engineers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard and MIT are currently testing a smart bandage designed to dispense the healing cream or whatever stuff on its own.
This bandage is made of “composite fibres with a core electrical heater covered by a layer of hydrogel containing thermoresponsive drug carriers,” which explains it all.
It works as a regular bandage, protecting the injury from exposure, but a microcontroller is attached to send voltage through the fibres, activating the medications originally lying dormant in the hydrogel.
This action can be prompted by an app, an on-board timer, or sensors woven in the bandage.
Each fibre can carry a different medication ranging from topical anaesthetics to antibiotics, even to growth hormones to accelerate the healing process.
In a paper published in the journal ‘Advanced Functional Materials’, the team documented how critters healed better when given the active bandage.
Work is also going on to see how to integrate sensors with the fibres, to measure blood glucose levels and pH, and to integrate a system to indicate how the healing process is going.