Medical

Graphene-based bandage designed for remote monitoring of wounds

Graphene-based bandage designe...
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, linked together in a honeycomb pattern
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, linked together in a honeycomb pattern
View 2 Images
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, linked together in a honeycomb pattern
1/2
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, linked together in a honeycomb pattern
The status of chronic wounds can be checked using an online portal
2/2
The status of chronic wounds can be checked using an online portal

If someone is suffering from a chronic wound such as a diabetic skin ulcer, it's important for their doctor to continuously know the status of that injury. A new bandage is designed to keep physicians in the loop, via everyone's favorite wonder material – graphene.

The device is being developed by scientists at biotech startup Grapheal, a spin-off company from France's National Centre for Scientific Research.

It consists of a polymer film base, along with embedded flexible electronics including graphene electrodes that are in direct contact with the wound. Graphene, for those who don't know, is an electrically-conductive material consisting of a one-atom-thick sheet of linked carbon atoms.

As the chemistry of the wound changes – such as its pH rising with increased infection – the conductivity of the graphene electrodes changes accordingly. This data is wirelessly transmitted from the bandage to a nearby smartphone or tablet, which proceeds to relay it from the patient's home to a cloud-based server for analysis.

The status of chronic wounds can be checked using an online portal
The status of chronic wounds can be checked using an online portal

Doctors or nurses can then view online updates on the condition of the wound, without having to see the patient in person – and without having to remove the bandage. As an added bonus, due to graphene's already-known antibacterial qualities, the bandage should reportedly also help facilitate the wound-healing process.

Human trials of the technology are set to begin soon, with a commercial rollout estimated to take place within about three years.

Sources: SINC, Grapheal

2 comments
CarolynFarstrider
This is an interesting development but I keep wondering what happens to the graphene when it reaches the end of its life in this bandage? Has the impact of 'free' graphene in the natural environment (water, soil, air) been established?
Karmudjun
I'm not sure of the significance of your question @CarolynFarstrider as most people are aware that Graphene is a highly processed sheet form of carbon or graphite formation. There are already microbes from below the sea floor to the highest organic processes ongoing on the side of mountains that strip the carbon molecules from their environment. The impact of 'free' graphene would essentially be another form of carbon to be harvested by our composting microbes. Were this a polymer with graphene then there could be an issue to consider, but given the depth nature has evolved for stripping carbon molecules from the environment to sustain growth, food storage and proliferation I think this really isn't a question that needs much of an answer other than a few minutes of thought. Cotton guaze bandages abandoned on battlefields with human tissue (blood, serum) are scavanged and decompose in weeks, I imagine graphene will last longer but not substantially. Still - it shows you are analytical in thought...