Researchers have developed a smart bandage that, depending on the type of wound, will help control the dosage and delivery schedule of medication. This, in turn, is expected to result in faster healing.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come together in devising this bandage that consists of electrically conductive fibres coated in a gel. According to The Economic Times, Ali Tamayol, Assistant Professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said,
"This is the first bandage that is capable of dose-dependent drug release. You can release multiple drugs with different release profiles. That is a big advantage in comparison with other systems. What we did here was come up with a strategy for building a bandage from the bottom up."
While it acts like a regular bandage in protecting wounds from exposure, it also has a stamp-sized microcontroller that sends voltage through certain fibres, warming them and therefore activating the medicine which until then had been lying dormant in the hydrogel.
The microcontrollers can be controlled or prompted through apps or wireless devices. This smart bandage can make sure that healing is no longer dependent on patients paying repeated visits to hospitals for dressing and redressing.
With fewer dressings, the pain that a patient suffers in the process of healing can also be reduced to a large extent. And there is no restriction on the type of medication that the bandage can carry. Talking to Science X, Ali said,
"Soldiers on the battlefield may be suffering from a number of different injuries or infections. They might be dealing with a number of different pathogens. Imagine that you have a variable patch that has antidotes or drugs targeted toward specific hazards in the environment."
The study was published in Advanced Functional Materials.