Prototype ‘smart bandage’ can detect infections and auto-apply antibiotics

Here at Digital Trends we have covered a surprising number of fascinating high-tech wound dressings, such as one made of spider silk and a futuristic Star Trek-style patch, which uses cold plasma as part of the healing process. Adding to this growing subgenre of stories is a new smart bandage developed by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Not only is it capable of checking whether a wound is infected, but it can also proactively treat it with medication if it deems this to be the case.

“We have developed an automated and smart bandage that can measure the level of pH, and use that for identifying potential infection in chronic wounds and deliver antibiotics if infection is detected,” Ali Tamayol, an assistant professor in the department of mechanical & materials engineering, told Digital Trends. “This platform reduces the number of hospital visits by patients, and facilitates quick treatment of infection in wounds to reduce the life threatening complications associated with that.”

The smart wound dressing contains both pH and temperature sensors. Between them, these two sensors can tell when a wound turns more alkaline, thereby signalling the presence of bacteria, as well as the presence of inflamation. The sensors are located in a hydrogel sheet, which carries capsules containing medicine, including antibiotics. If an infection is detected, the bandage can automatically release the drugs. In tests, it was able to wipe out more than 90 percent of bacteria, and bring pH levels back within normal range.

“The treatment of chronic diabetic wounds is an immediate application,” Tamayol explained. “However, this approach can be extended to other chronic diseases in which drugs should be delivered to control the level of biomarkers. For example, a similar platform can be used for controlling the level of glucose in patients suffering from diabetes.”

The next stage in the development process will involve improving the drug delivery platform, along with testing the bandage on small animal models. Should this be a success, hopefully it won’t be long before clinical trials on humans might be carried out, prior to this becoming a standardized tool available to physicians. “There are many people suffering from chronic wounds, and my hope is to find a solution to help them out,” Tamayol said.

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Small.

Emerging Tech

MIT whiz kids got a robot to take on the viral #BottleCapChallenge

It turns out the ultra-smart folks at MIT think about the same silly viral meme challenges as the rest of us. Check out their attempt to get a robot to take on the #BottleCapChallenge.
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which smart speaker should run your home?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers — the Google Home Mini and the third-generation Amazon Echo Dot — together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy?
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Who needs sunshine? Stay inside and watch the best movies on Netflix instead

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Professional poker players no match for A.I. in six-player Texas Hold ’em

Poker AI Pluribus destroyed professional players in Texas Hold 'em. The bot won an average of $5 per hand with winnings of $1,000 per hour, with strategies that were very different to how humans played the game.
Emerging Tech

Russia launches X-ray observatory capable of locating thousands of black holes

Russia has finally launched its powerful X-ray observatory, Spektr-RG, after a delay caused by faulty batteries on board the spacecraft. The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, July 13, taking off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Emerging Tech

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…
Emerging Tech

See a gargantuan dust storm covering the north pole of Mars

A dust storm around Mars' north pole has been imaged by the Mars Express orbiter. Localized dust storms are common on Mars, but occasionally one expands into a planet-wide event like the one which caused the demise of the Opportunity rover.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope captures the beautiful remnants of a dying star

The VLT has captured a beautiful cosmic object, the planetary nebula named Abell 24. Located in constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog), it is a swirl of dust and gas which is illuminated by the core of a dead star.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers have spotted a moon forming around a proto-Jupiter

Astronomers have spotted a young planet with a disk of gas and dust around it which is similar to the one from which the moons of Jupiter were born. The planet PDS 70 b is in the process of forming and is located 370 light-years away.
Emerging Tech

NASA thinks 3D-printing spacecraft parts in orbit will help Moon to Mars mission

NASA funded the demonstration by a small spacecraft named Archinaut One to manufacture and assemble parts while in space. NASA believes that the technology will change future space exploration, including its Moon to Mars initiative.
Emerging Tech

Flyboard Air soars over Paris during France’s national day celebrations

Franky Zapata, the inventor of the jet-powered Flyboard Air, showed off his machine during France's Bastille Day celebrations on Sunday. The impressive display was even given a nod of approval by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Deals

Save with Prime Day deals on DNA kits from Ancestry, 23andme, and Living DNA

Prime Day is a great time to order a DNA kit. Over the years, kits from various providers have been deeply discounted -- and this year's no exception. Kits from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Living DNA are on sale for as much as half off…
Emerging Tech

Airport hotel builds a full-sized flight simulator into one of its guest rooms

Aviation enthusiasts flying out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport, there's a new hotel room designed just for you. It features a full-sized Boeing 737-800 flight simulator, though you'll have to pay extra to use it.