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Scientist from US have been successful in developing a smart bandage can control the dose and schedule the drug delivery for a particular type of wound and leads to quick healing.
It has been observed that chronic wounds do not follow normal healing process and timelines and his has become a matter of concern and challenge to modern health care providers. They show variations in ph levels and bleed randomly as a result of infection. Treatment of these kind of wounds is very challenging and requires constant medical attention and requires constant travel to hospital which is very time consuming and expensive.
This technology solves the problem of wound monitoring by offering a low-cost wearable smart bandage that senses early signs of wound infection like bleeding and pH variations and can measure external pressure on the wound. This simple bandage strip can remotely send wound progression data and give early warnings to patients, as well as remote medical staff, regarding the need to change the dressing.
The bandage is made up of electrically conductive fibres coated in gel, in which each can be loaded with infection fighting antibiotics, pain killers, tissue regenerating growth factors or other required drugs. A microcontroller which is no longer than postage stamp, that can be triggered by a smartphone or other wireless device and sends small amounts of voltage through a particular chosen fiber. This voltage heats up the fibre and its hydrogel and releasing whatever drug it contains.
The sensors used to detect bleeding, pH levels and external pressure on the wound are located on a disposable bandage whereas the electronics on the flexible kapton tape can be detached and reused multiple times. The capacitive sensor detects bleeding, as well as pressure levels on the wound. A resistive sensor detects pH levels on the wound. The changes in capacitance and resistance are processed by the electronics, and the information is sent in a wireless fashion using an IEEE 802.15.4 standard.
The detachable electronics consists of a transmitter with an embedded microcontroller, a capacitance-to-digital converter (CDC), an LED to inform the patient about the status of the bandage and a battery to power the system. The wireless communication is done with the help of an inkjet-printed loop antenna that is integrated with the circuit. This data can then be sent to the remote health care providers using either the mobile network or the internet.
There are currently no commercially available wireless devices to continuously control the wound-healing process. The proposed smart bandage, for the first time, provides a complete wearable system to check upon chronic wounds in real-time. The smart bandage system can be used to monitor any type of chronic wound regardless of its size, as the sensor dimensions are scalable.
The main advantages are that 1. It reduces health care costs for patients, hospitals and insurance providers, 2. It helps in detecting infections in timely manner, 3. It gives better wound management, 4. Reusable electronics could be used on multiple disposable bandages, 5. They have pressure sensors that alerts patients and help them avoid pressure ulcers, 6. It gives dressing alerts for patients and 7. It helps real-time monitoring of wounds.
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