You should cover your wound with a bandage – that much you know for sure. But are you following the rest of your doctor’s orders to properly care for your skin injury and prevent infections? No need to stress about that with a smart bandage.

Researchers at Tufts University recently developed this advanced wound care product, designed to monitor and treat chronic wounds with integrated sensors and automatic drug release. This seemingly futuristic dressing may be closer to reality than we realize. Here’s what to know about the smart bandage:

The research

The Tufts engineers set out with the goal of improving the rate at which chronic wounds heal. The result was a prototype for the smart bandage, which can actively monitor wound condition and deliver appropriate treatment doses with little to no intervention from patients or caregivers. The researchers utilized flexible electronics to develop the smart bandage.

“We are simply applying modern technology to an ancient art in hopes of improving outcomes for an intractable problem,” said Sameer Sonkusale, Ph.D. professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University’s School of Engineering and corresponding co-author for the study.

With that said, the smart bandage essentially gives the natural healing process an automated boost, especially for chronic wounds caused by burns, diabetes and other medical conditions.

“This development can transform once passive bandages into active treatment products.”

The features

The smart bandage has pH and temperature sensors, which can analyze the wound’s condition and how those numbers correlate to the proper healing process. Temperature can also alert the smart bandage to inflammation. The smart bandage can further deliver specific treatments, such as antibiotics or pain medication, in response to the sensors that track inflammation and infection.

By providing real-time data on the healing progress and delivering medicine when necessary, smart bandages have the potential to reduce the need for additional doctor visits or virtual appointments.

The future

The next step for the smart bandage is clinical testing. However, it appears promising that this advanced wound dressing can transform once passive bandages into active treatment products.

According to the researchers, the smart bandage further has a multitude of potential applications in the future. Sonkusale suggested embedding additional sensing components, drugs and growth factors as a way to monitor different healing markers and manage various health conditions.

For patients, this promising future means the days of smart bandages making wound care at home an effortless process are relatively close. As for what’s available today, smartPAC is an advanced wound care supply method that can increase the simplicity and convenience of your treatment and care plan.