Bandages that can detect how a wound is healing and send messages back to clinicians could be trialled in the UK within the next 12 months, according to scientists.
The bandages would use digital technology to monitor what treatment was needed in real-time and also keep track of a patient’s activity levels.
“That intelligent dressing uses nano-technology to sense the state of that wound at any one specific time”
The work is being led by Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science and forms part of a £1.3bn deal, which aims to create a test hub for innovation in the city using the latest “5G” technology.
Professor Marc Clement, chair of the institute, said: “5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare.
“That intelligent dressing uses nano-technology to sense the state of that wound at any one specific time,” he told the BBC.
“The clinician knows the performance of the specific wound at any specific time and can then tailor the treatment protocol to the individual and wound in question,” said Professor Clement.
‘Smart’ bandage likely to be trialed by UK university within a year
He noted that the current traditional approach medicine tended to involve a clinician seeing a patient and then prescribing a treatment for a month or three months.
“What the future holds is a world where there’s the ability to vary the treatment to the individual, the lifestyle and the pattern of life,” he said.
Professor Clement highlighted that nano-technology experts would develop the tiny sensors locally while 3D printers at the institute would be used to produce the bandages, keeping the cost down.
He said the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre was also involved in the project and trials would go through the Arch wellness and innovation project in South West Wales where there was a “honey pot” of one million people to carry out such tests.