Smart Bandage

A study was published in “Science Advances” that offered to help accelerate healing of chronic wounds-using a wearable, wireless, mechanically flexible smart bandage as big as a finger.

About the Bandage

  • It has been developed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), integrates biosensors, drug-loaded hydrogels, electrical stimulation modules, and wireless communication.
  • It is a stretchable, wireless, wearable bioelectronic system for multiplexed monitoring and combined therapy of infected chronic wounds.
  • It is designed to maintain contact with and adhere to the skin using a soft, stretchable polymer.
  • The device consists of two parts: one reusable flexible printed circuit board and one disposable patch.
  • The disposable wearable patch consists of a multimodal biosensor array for simultaneous and multiplexed electrochemical sensing of wound exudate biomarkers, a stimulus-responsive electroactive hydrogel loaded with a dual-function anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial peptide (AMP), as well as a pair of voltage-modulated electrodes for controlled drug release and electrical stimulation.
  • This wearable, remote, precisely adaptable “Smart Bandage” is pretty much as large as a finger.
  • This device can deliver drugs, monitor the patient’s condition, and send data to a smartphone at the same time.


  • To stick the bandage to the skin, the researchers developed an adhesive gel that loosens when heated above body temperature.
  • This allows it to be removed without causing damage to vulnerable skin. At normal skin temperature, the gel proved to be as sticky as a standard medical tape.

How does the bandage work?

  • Data collected by the bandage is wirelessly transmitted to a smartphone or tablet for review by healthcare professionals.
  • Unlike a typical bandage, which might only consist of layers of absorbent material, the smart bandages are made from a flexible and stretchy polymer containing embedded electronics and medication.
  • The electronics allow the sensor to monitor for molecules like uric acid or lactate and conditions like pH level or temperature in the wound that may be indicative of inflammation or bacterial infection.

The bandage can respond in one of three ways

  • First, it can transmit the gathered data from the wound wirelessly to a nearby computer, tablet, or smartphone for review by the patient or a medical professional.
  • Second, it can deliver an antibiotic or other medication stored within the bandage directly to the wound site to treat the inflammation and infection.
  • Third, it can apply a low-level electrical field to the wound to stimulate tissue growth resulting in faster healing.


  • With stimulation and sensing in one device, the smart bandage speeds healing, but it also keeps track as the wound is improving
  • Smart Bandage doesn’t have to be removed frequently to monitor the status and apply antibiotics.
  • It is an active healing device that could transform the standard of care in the treatment of chronic wounds.
  • It can connect to mobile applications or remote monitoring systems, allowing patients to monitor their wounds from home.
  • However, the accuracy and reliability of the sensors and monitoring systems within smart bandages can vary.

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