Normal band-aids? Not anymore. The smart band-aid that will heal you with electrical stimulation and sensors, then? Yes, please!
Technology is truly exceptional these days. Every day there is an invention that is amazing and well, helpful. This time, scientists have truly outdone themselves.
To meet the complexity of daily applications in the monitoring of exercise and human health, scientists have taken to integrating multifunctionality into wearable electronics. The creation of such devices is complicated hence there are a few of these multifunctional electronic devices.
They have finally created something that the Apple smartwatch isn’t able to do, despite what its cheerleaders promised it would.
Straight from the laboratories of Standard university, scientists have created a smart bandage that will heal you 25% faster by stimulating tissue to speed up recovery.
This band-aid is a combination of the normal traditional band-aids that you are familiar with, with a polytetrafluoroethylene or polydimethylsiloxane mixture with a silver nanowire network. This new invention is waterproof too.
This is used to monitor the progression of wound healing by using temperature sensors and electrical currents. Not only that, but the band-aid also increases new blood flow to the injured tissue, enhances skin recovery by reducing scar formation, and promotes faster closure of wounds.
The motivation for this band-aid came from the traditional band-aids, which are soft, conformal, come in all shapes and sizes, and can be put on any part of the body.
How is the smart band-aid created?
The smart band-aid, as mentioned above, is made of three main parts:
- The silver nanowire network is for conductive electrode
- The traditional band-aid is for direct contact with the skin
- Stretchy material i.e. spandex, to bring about the easiness in twisting, stretching, and bending it.
- And polytetrafluoroethylene is for waterproofing.
Application of the band-aid and what it does to the wound
This smart band-aid is there to heal wounds faster, and if it finds that the wound has an infection or it is not healing, sensors in the band-aid will apply more stimulation to fight the infection and speed up skin recovery.
The band-aid’s biosensors are made to track biophysical changes in the environment and can provide real-time, quick ways to measure the wound, accurately of course. This is possible to do without the need for wires, on a smartphone too.
The band-aid heals and protects. It works actively and when the timing is right, it will be able to change the care standard in the treatment of chronic wounds.
The band-aid can also look at wounds that are in complicated geometrical areas and when it’s looking healed and normal, the band-aid pulses an LED light. This is made easy by the single-pixel camera.
The band-aid will do more than healing. It can track various motions in joints and also distinguish food that is passing your throat. This is effective with a mic on the neck.
How does electrical stimulation promote wound healing?
Scientists have found that electrical stimulation helps with the activation of Apoe, a pro-regenerative gene that brings about soft tissue and muscle growth, and also Selenop, which helps with clearing pathogens and repairing wounds. Selenop is an anti-inflammatory gene.
Electrical stimulation also helps with the increase of white blood cells, in particular, macrophages and monocytes. These two also have parts in other phases of healing the wound.
There have been other designs of similar construction. Research from the University of Tokyo designed one that had to be applied like temporary tattoos while the university of Illinois released a design that was skin-based, flexible circuits like the smart band-aid. But the smart band-aid is way better despite the similarities, as it can be reused, and is durable and robust too.
With all this, however, scientists who are responsible for creating this have warned that this smart band-aid is proof of the concept, but it has some challenges that need to be sorted out to make it even more effective.
The challenges are long-term data storage, the size of the device to human scale, and cost reduction. Another challenge is the use of hydrogel. For some with allergies, using the device can cause a horrible reaction to the gel that it uses. That can result in some skin reactions that would need medical attention.
These are the hindrances that need to be taken care of to improve the functionality of the device and this has to be done before mass production works begin for the device.
When the little flaws and challenges to the smart band-aid have been ironed out, this will be one of the topmost sought devices that humankind will depend on. It will be a vital tool in healing wounds faster, leaving the medical personnel free to work on other important businesses.
Except for healing wounds, it also has other amazing properties that will be game changers and will mean people won’t have to do too much in cases of erasing scars because they have the sensors and stimulators in the smart band-aid. This groundbreaking invention will take the world by storm, and will continue to be a great part of the medical technology that will be most wanted.
During the experiments with the smart band-aids, a group of mice was used to determine if it will be effective, and it showed that it can heal wounds 25% faster. If it can work wonders in mice, what about humans? Technology is taking a turn that will make most of us want to live for a long time, to see an age where things take an improved stage because technology happened.