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.

Home Theater

Why are current smart TVs still dumb enough to be hacked?

Our smart TVs can stream on-demand music and movies, and even control our smart home devices. But these features come at a cost and many of us don't even know there's a risk. Can our smart TVs be hacked and what can we do about it?
Smart Home

Keep a watch on your front porch with the best video doorbells for 2019

When it comes to knowing who's at your door before you actually open it, there's nothing better than a video doorbell. Plus, you can "answer" the door even if you're not home. Here are some of our favorites.
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!
News

SpaceX’s Starhopper rocket bursts into flames during tests

SpaceX ran into trouble Tuesday evening when a small fire erupted from the engine of a prototype rocket it was testing at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. It's not clear if the fire caused any damage to the rocket itself
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here's all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

IBM’s Wimbledon-watching A.I. is poised to revolutionize sports broadcasts

IBM has developed a smart A.I. with an appreciation for what makes a great tennis match like the recent epic at Wimbledon. Here's how IBM developed it -- and why tools like it are the future of sport broadcasting.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Emoji Day, Apollo 11 broadcast, drone flamethrowers

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the top stories in tech, including Emoji Day festivities, the extended battery life of the new Nintendo Switch, an Apollo 11 real-time broadcast, and a functional flamethrower attachment for drones.
Emerging Tech

6 questions we have about Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain interface technology

Elon Musk's Neuralink sounds like an exciting leap forward for human-computer relations, but brain implants raise the specter of Black Mirror-esque privacy invasions. We have a few questions about how this would work.
News

Canadian medical project demonstrates the health care potential of smart homes

A medical project involving smart homes demonstrates the technology's potential in treating mental illness and providing patients with a level of independence previously thought impossible.
Emerging Tech

Implant restores sight in blind patients by beaming images directly to the brain

Engineers have developed a neural implant which could help restore vision for completely blind people by bypassing non-functioning optical nerves and inputting images directly into their brains.
Deals

Ride in style with the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter for $97 less post-Prime Day

Scooters started out as a plaything for kids. But now they are larger and have become a common and efficient means to commute, like the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter. It's available on Amazon as a post-Prime Day deal for $97 less.
Emerging Tech

Trippy VR demo reads your brain waves to create sleep-inducing visuals

Struggle to get to sleep? Researchers in Australia have been experimenting with ways to combine a person’s brain activity with virtual reality to create a kind of VR lullaby machine.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starship can land on the moon by 2021

SpaceX boss Elon Musk said recently that he believes its Starship spacecraft can land on the moon by 2021, adding that he hopes his company can help to build a "permanently occupied lunar base" there.