Taking care of a cut or scrape usually means swapping out the bandage a few times, and maybe putting a little healing cream or hydrogel on there. But what if the dressing could dispense that stuff on its own? That’s the idea behind a smart bandage now being tested by engineers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard and MIT.
Instead of plain sterile cotton or other fibers, this dressing is made of “composite fibers with a core electrical heater covered by a layer of hydrogel containing thermoresponsive drug carriers,” which really says it all.
It acts as a regular bandage, protecting the injury from exposure and so on, but attached to it is a stamp-sized microcontroller. When prompted by an app (or an onboard timer, or conceivably sensors woven into the bandage), the microcontroller sends a voltage through certain of the fibers, warming them and activating the medications lying dormant in the hydrogel.