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Smart bandages could be the wave of the future

For most of us, bandages are something we use to help protect a wound and, sometimes, even promote its healing. Whether it is a skin-colored bandage or one with dinosaurs or superheroes on it, the general reason for applying and result for having done so is the same.

But like pretty much everything else we have come to know, technology is changing how those work, too. Sure, bandages still do everything we thought, but these days they can do so much more.

We have seen “smart” technology added to many devices like refrigerators, watches and phones, all of which make sense. But it can also improve bandages.

Your wound can be monitored at all times

Sure the bandages will still protect wounds and help to promote healing. But given that slow-healing wounds are certainly an issue, it makes sense that some would seek to improve that area of health.

It’s to that end a team of researchers at Tufts University is creating a bandage that will not only be able to keep track of how the wound is progressing, but be able to provide treatment as necessary. The idea is to increase the healing rate, which can be done by having improved methods of applying medication and other therapies.

Now their smart bandage is not yet a finished product, but when it is it will be able to monitor many things, including temperature and pH of the wound. If it were to detect a change in either, the bandage will be able to diagnose the issue and dispense medication.

The bandage would then be able to continue monitoring the treatment, determining if other steps are necessary while also providing real-time status updates.

How helpful would it really be?

To be fair, society has been getting along with standard bandages for a while now and it may seem like adding smart technology to them is a bit overboard. But author Sameer Sonkusale notes that chronic wounds are one of the world’s leading causes of amputations — excluding war settings — and the thinking is that better, more responsive bandages can help reduce the number.

The idea of adding technology to bandages is not necessarily new, as there are already some in the world today. Along those lines, wearable tech that can make our lives easier and healthier is going mainstream. You can hear all about it in Kim’s podcast below:

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