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Researchers Working On Smart Bandages That Will Use 5G Data To Relay Health Details

17 April 2017, 7:17 am EDT By Anu Passary Tech Times
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With the advent of technology, one is inundated with smart devices and appliances. The field of medicine has also experienced technological advancements and scientists have reportedly created a smart bandage.

The 3D printed smart bandage is the brainchild of researchers at the Swansea University and uses nano-sized sensors and 5G wireless data. These in-built elements in the bandages will transmit the progress of the wound to the doctor. The bandage also tracks a patient's activity levels.

Currently, when a bandage is applied to a wound it is hard to detect how well the wound is healing. It is only once the bandage is removed that the healing status of the wound becomes known.

However, the scenario may soon change if the smart bandage designed by Swansea University successfully clears the clinical trial.

Smart Bandages To Track Wound Healing

Swansea University is hoping to put the bandages on trial within the next 12 months. The project is being led by Institute of Life Science at Swansea University.

The innovation is a part of the Swansea Bay City deal worth $1.63 billion (£1.3 billion), which is looking to generate a 5G test hub for the purpose of digital innovation.

The new-age bandages will be integrated with nano-sized sensors. These sensors are capable of detecting infections, or blood clotting in the wound. This information will be then relayed to physicians wirelessly so that they can take adequate steps to fasten the healing process.

"5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare," said Marc Clement, chairman of ILS.

He added that use of nanotechnology has enabled scientists to come up with sensors that are extremely small in size. Clement claims that if the dressing passes the trials successfully, the next logical step would be to make these bandages available to healthcare at an affordable price.

He claims that this "multi-technology approach, with nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, printing and coating biochemistry all interconnecting through 5G infrastructure" will enable healthcare officials to deliver better services and also ensure improved quality of life.

How Will The Smart Bandages Prove Useful?

Other than transmitting a constant stream of data to the physician regarding the wound healing status of a patient, the smart bandage will also keep the patient informed of the same.

The smart bandage would connect with the patient's smartphone and monitor the wound, as well as other associated health concerns such as an incorrect diet, or less physical activity.

These related health concerns also need monitoring as it may prevent healing, or possibly lead to other complications in the patient.

The smart bandage will also keep the patient alert of any abnormalities, which may take place under the bandage, prompting them to visit the doctor in case of an emergency.

Clinical trials of the smart bandages have already started. The color of the smart bandage alters if a wound becomes infected, which alerts the user of the problem.

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