Australian researchers have developed a fiber that changes color in response to temperature with the aim of creating a smart bandage that can indicate the state of underlying wounds and warn of infection. With the ability to show temperature changes of less than 0.5 of a degree Celsius, the smart bandage would allow for easier and faster identification of healing problems that are typically accompanied by an increase or decrease in local temperature, such as infection or interruptions to blood supply.

Lead inventor of the color-changing fiber, Louise van der Werff, a CSIRO materials scientist and Monash University PhD student, says that weaving the fiber into a bandage will allow clinicians to determine the temperature across the wound and surrounding tissue. By comparing the color of the fibers with a calibrated chart, the clinicians will be able to quickly determine the health of the wound.

The researchers say the color changing bandages would be cheaper than the electronic equipment currently used by clinicians, and would also allow patients to better self-diagnose problems.

The Australian research team has already created the color-changing fabric and expects to have a heat-sensitive bandage ready for industry trials within six months.

This isn't the first bandage we've seen designed to indicate infection by changing color. Last year we saw the creation of a bandage by Fraunhofer scientists that changed color, not in response to temperature changes, but in response to changes in pH values.

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