- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s got temperature sensors, LED lights, electronics, medication and it stretches with ease. Behold, it’s the “band-aid of the future,” according to the mechanical engineers who designed it, based on a new material which is very human-friendly, and ready for some helpful high tech additions.  Dubbed the “smart wound dressing,” it can also contain temperature sensors, semiconductor chips and tiny reservoirs of medicine embedded in a super-thin, flexible, almost rubbery hydrogel which stretches over even tricky areas like elbows or knees.

Composed almost mostly of water, the material flexes, the researchers say, in “about the range of human soft tissues” and is described as a “very versatile matrix” which could be used as a “long-term human interface.”

They envision it used both on the skin in simpler applications, and inside the body - employed as a “biocompatible” monitor for the levels of glucose or other vital indicators, without risk of rejection by the body.

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Houston and Samsung worked on the project, which was funded the Office of Naval Research, the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, and the National Science Foundation. The research was published in Advanced Materials, an academic journal.

Others are fascinated with the healing potential of simple band-aids. A British group has developed “smart” band-aids embedded with a sensitive, non-toxic fluorescent dye that glows brilliant green when infection develops on a cut or wound. Biochemists at the University of Bath intend to use the bandage as an early warning system for doctors to alert them if a patient needs help. They also theorize the new dressing could help curb the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

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