Researchers at the University of Glasgow have developed a smart bandage incorporating wireless sensors and an NFC tag that can monitor a patient’s temperature and skin strain level, apply pressure to help a wound heal and transmit data to healthcare providers via a smartphone app.
The flexible adhesive bandage has been developed to assist with wound healing, but it also has the potential to monitor breathing and detect respiratory diseases such as asthma and Covid-19 when placed on a patient’s chest, the researchers from the university’s Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies group say.
“Temperature is a well established marker of inflammation or infection in wounds and can be an early indicator of chronicity or predictor of healing even though wound appearances may not differ,” the group’s open-access research paper explains.
“Likewise, the skin strain can be used as an effective routine to keep track of wound closure or skin growth during wound healing.
“The application of controlled mechanical forces on a wound can also accelerate neovascularization and cellular proliferation, thus improving wound healing.
“Thus, with strain and temperature sensors, the presented smart bandage addresses the need for simultaneous monitoring of the temperature and strain.
“In addition, the presented system could be useful for monitoring of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and Covid-19, where wearable strain and temperature sensors could provide critical information, such as respiratory volume and body temperature.
“The presented system distinguishes from previous works by combining the following three main aspects simultaneously: 1) both the sensor and the electronics are integrated on flexible substrates; 2) it is able to measure simultaneously temperature and strain, two parameters that have been hardly ever combined so far for wound assessment; and 3) it implements wireless powering and data transmission using NFC technology, thus making the system compatible with any NFC-enabled smartphone through the custom-developed smartphone application.”
A short video shows how the NFC-enabled smart bandage works.