Revolutionary smart bandages to be trialled within the next year
Traditionally, bandages are intended for dressing management but with the recent developments of advanced technology in the medical field, this may be about to change. Whilst providing an indication of how well a wound is healing, the advanced bandages will also send updated progress reports to doctors. According to scientists, the innovative technology could be trialled within the next year.
Fitted with nano-sized sensors, the dressings will be able to pick up any blood clotting or infections and send it back to the medical staff, allowing medical treatments to be more timely and effective. Currently, patients with wounds are advised to return to a doctor after a certain period of time to assess whether a wound is healing or infected. With its incredibly futuristic 5G technology, it will provide a much better indication of when a visit to the doctor is necessary.
The 3D printed smart bandages are a part of a larger scheme which involves a 5G test hub for medical innovation. This is a £1.3 billion investment in the Swansea Bay City Region, which has the backing of the prime minister, Theresa May, as she looks to put Wales at the forefront of scientific innovation in an attempt to boost the Welsh economy.
The Swansea Bay City Region deal is a forward-thinking scheme which is predicted to create over 9,000 jobs and trigger £1.3bn of investment in South West Wales. A key leader of the major regional project, Carwyn Jones, claimed that it was a ‘‘transformative deal that will drive the regional economy in a new direction, supported by high-quality jobs and a digital infrastructure’’.
Late last year, there was speculation of clinical trials for colour-changing dressing, which would provide an early warning of an infected wound and allow doctors to decide on better treatments. Another benefit would be that they help to reduce the use of antibiotics to prevent resistant bacteria. The bandage would release florescent dye if an infection is detected. Developed at the University of Bath, the technology has used samples from burn patients at several major hospitals.
Although full use of the smart bandage in hospitals is unlikely to be readily available immediately, it is certainly going to change the face of healthcare in the UK in the long-term. Medical staff will be able to monitor wounds without the removal of dressings making treatments more efficient, whilst the overuse of antibiotics will be prevented, marking huge progress in medical care.
Could these medical devices be at the forefront of intersecting technology and healthcare in the UK?