How These Bandages Might Help Speed up Healing  

NATO is sponsoring research into more rapid healing for skin wounds.
Monday 21 December 2020
Scientists in Belgium, Japan and Spain are working together to develop this new technology. Photo: Twitter/@NATO_SPS

In the labs of Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels right now, scientists are currently hard at work developing a smart bandage prototype. They hope to equip it with sensors that can communicate precious information in real-time on all types of wounds in order to care for them without delay.

The further we get into the future the more that technology sounds like it’s come straight out of a sci-fi movie. Although it is most likely how people back in the day felt about electricity. 

Sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) research has led to the development of a type of patch equipped with sensors capable of transmitting information such as the temperature, hydration level or acidity (pH) of an injury. 



With this fandangled new patch, doctors will be able to assess which patients require the most urgent care more accurately and quicker. This data can also be transmitted to a machine learning software program, which will also determine the severity of the wound.

Composed of three distinct layers, the dressing has a collagen hydrogel bandage, liquid crystals and specific sensors. The liquid crystals indicate on the surface of the patch the different alert levels. As for the sensors, they can be associated with stem cells capable of reducing the healing time of certain serious wounds by 30 to 10 days.

This daring research project is called Rawints (RApid Skin Wound healing by INtegrated Tissue engineering and Sensing). 



While it would be nice to have this kind of technology available to the public, the specific project is targetted for more high-stakes portions of the population like war casualties (soldiers or civilians), as well as astronauts going on lengthy missions to the Moon or Mars. Areas where accurate and quick medical attention is necessity. 

NATO is going even further with a new research program called SP4Life (Smart Patch for Life support system) which aims at adding a microphone to bandages to monitor patients’ heart rates. This too will be a lengthy research project that is aimed at mainly military or space mission use. 

Imagine, one day your bandage will beep and tell you you’re nervous to see that hot new doctor. 

Source: AFP Relax News