In an amazing and exciting advancement in surgical science, a new biomedical ‘bandage’ has been created which could also be called an Electronic bandage.
This latest technology uses nanowires and offers therapeutic stimulation. These nanowires are combined to form a thin layer of elastic polymer, which behaves like human skin with regards to its elasticity and sensory abilities.
The bandage is capable of recording electrophysiological signs, which can collect and send data such as wearer’s heartbeat and muscle activity. The bandage is also noninvasive, unlike many other internal cardiology trackers, meaning the wearer can go on and about his life without any effect on his lifestyle.
Chi Hwan Lee, the project lead and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at Purdue University commented on the technology,
“It can intimately adhere to the skin and simultaneously provide medically useful biofeedback such as electrophysiological signals. Uniquely, this work combines high-quality nanomaterials into a skin-like device, thereby enhancing the mechanical properties.”
Lee was quick to point out that although this isn’t the only electronic bandage that has been developed, their version does have some advantages, courtesy its mesh film design that can’t be found anywhere else. He said:
“In addition, the nanowire mesh film has very high surface area compared to conventional thin films, with more than 1,000 times greater surface roughness. So once you attach it to the skin the adhesion is much higher, reducing the potential of inadvertent delamination.”
The process of creating the nanowires was extracted from conventional techniques, and a single thread measures 50 nanometers in diameter and 150 microns in length. These threads are embedded into a thin elastic polymer layer, which is about 1.5 microns thick.
“The nanowires mesh film was initially formed on a conventional silicon wafer with existing micro- and nano-fabrication technologies. Our unique technique, called a crack-driven transfer printing technique, allows us to controllably peel off the device layer from the silicon wafer, and then apply onto the skin,” Lee said.
The bandage can have many uses, such as being used in transdermal drug delivery, or using the nano-fabrication to deliver the drugs electronically via the skin. It could also be programmed to monitor the condition of the wearer, and give him the required medicines according to the real-time readings.
You can read the full research paper here.
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