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‘Smart bandages’ could offer real-time wound feedback

Published on 18/04/17 at 09:48am
The kind of bandage that could soon be replaced.

The problem with bandages is that often we do not know how well a wound has healed under them until they are removed. However, research by Swansea University’s Institute of Life Sciences into ‘smart bandages’ means that this could become a problem of the past.

The updated bandages would be connected to 5G technology to monitor the healing of a wound, allowing doctors and the patients the benefit of reacting, in real-time, to any changes. The bandage would monitor the state of the wound via nano-technology, allowing the smart bandages to be outfitted with small sensors.

Adding to the revolutionary design of the bandages is the fact that they would be produced through 3D printing. This manner of production has been proposed to keep the cost of the bandage down.

The benefits of such bandages are numerous: not only would it allow doctors to ensure that any wounds were not infected, it would also allow the doctors, through the 5G technology, to be updated on the progress of healing at any point. With there being a particular burden placed on the NHS through increases in numbers of appointments and face-to-face check-ups, this small update could allow doctors to follow up with patients only when necessary.

Professor Marc Clement, Chairman of the Institute of Life Sciences, commented to the BBC on the bandage: “It would connect that wound to a 5G infrastructure and that infrastructure through your telephone will also know things about you - where you are, how active you are at any one time. You combine all of that intelligence so the clinician knows the performance of the specific wound at any specific time and can then tailor the treatment protocol to the individual and wound in question."

 Trials of the devices are planned to begin within the next 12 months.

Ben Hargreaves

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