Technology is growing at a fast pace, and that does not leave any field of life behind. Medical technology has immensely advanced in the past decade, especially since the Internet of Things came along. A critical concern in the medical field is the forecast of any problems or ailments before hand. At the Institute of Life Science (ILS), Swansea University, the research focuses greatly on health tech.
Researchers at ILS have developed smart bandages that can detect the state of a wound, healing progress and communicate with the doctors over a 5G network. The device also suggests what treatment is needed for the wound to heal better, as well as the activity levels of the patient.
The Swansea Bay City deal, worth $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion) aims at turning the Welsh city into a 5G test hub, and the smart bandage project is a part of the same deal. 5G is the next generation cellular network that offers a much higher speed and capacity than the existing communication platforms today. The deployment of technology will be on a large scale in 2019. While talking about the technology to BBC, the ILS chairman Marc Clement commented, “5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare.”
Tiny nanotechnology sensors embedded in the smart bandage connect to the 5G network through a smartphone, communicating information of both the location and the activity details of the patient.
“You combine all of that intelligence so 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. 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. All of the evidence is there before them in this 5G world, so the clinician and patient can work together to address the challenge.” said professor Clement.
ILS is planning to 3D print the bandages to minimize costs, while the nanotechnology experts develop the nanosensors. With more than a year left on hand for the deployment of a 5G network, this leaves the experts with enough time. The trials will be conducted through Arch (A Regional Collaboration for Health) in Wales, beginning within the next 12 months.
The 5G technology might just revolutionize communication networks for us, minimizing latency, and maximizing both speed and capacity by a great factor.