New stretchy 'Band-Aid' uses smart tech to heal wounds

MIT researchers have created a new type of 'Band-Aid' that is stretchy with components that give it so-called smart functionality. These sensors include things relevant to wound healing and the monitoring of such, such as a thermometer, drug-delivery tech, LED status indicators, and more. The stretchy part of the design makes the bandage more suitable for flexible parts of the body like elbows and knees.

The bandage uses the various technology to, for example, automatically deliver mediation to the area when a temperature change is detected. The LEDs could light up as alerts for when that medicine is in need of refilling. All of this is made possible via a hydrogel created by MIT Professor Xuanhe Zhao.

The hydrogel is described as being able to bond "strongly" to a variety of materials, including silicon, gold, glass, and more. It's not surprising, then, that researchers tested embedding different sorts of smart tech in the gel. Because the gel is stretchy, it enables they electronics to be used closely on the skin without compromising flexibility.

Unlike most man-made hydrogels, which are brittle and have trouble stretching, this new hydrogel has the same degree of stretchiness as the human skin. Different types of bandages and medical devices can be created using the gel, with the aforementioned drug delivery band-aid being only one example of what's possible.