VeCare tech relays wound data while leaving the bandage in place
One of the ironies of treating chronic wounds lies in the fact that when removing the dressing to check the wound, you often set back the healing process. A new type of "smart bandage" was designed with this problem in mind, as it transmits wound data to an app on a clinician's mobile device.
Currently being developed by scientists at the National University of Singapore, the electronically enhanced bandage technology is known as VeCare.
The actual single-use bandage itself is made up of four layers. There's a bottom layer that lies against the wound, followed by a flat microfluidic collection device, a flexible electrochemical immunosensor, and a breathable protective outer layer.
As the bandage sits against the wound, fluid from the injury is drawn into the microfluidic device via capillary action. When a separate reusable battery-powered chip is plugged into a lead extending from the immunosensor, the latter automatically begins analyzing the fluid.
Within 15 minutes, it's able to measure the pH and temperature of the wound site, which can in turn be used to determine if any infection is occurring. The system is also capable of identifying the types of bacteria present, and the level of inflammation. All of that data is wirelessly transmitted to an app on a nearby smartphone or tablet.
While doctors or clinicians could perform the VeCare tests, it's also possible that patients could do so themselves in their own homes, saving them unnecessary trips to a clinic. In either case, if the app showed that all of the wound parameters were satisfactory, the dressing could just be left in place, leaving the wound undisturbed.
VeCare has already been the subject of a successful clinical trial conducted on patients with chronic venous leg ulcers. The technology is now being developed further, in order to meet regulatory standards and mass production considerations.
A paper on the research, led by Prof. Lim Chwee Teck and Dr. Gao Yuji, was recently published in the journal Science Advances. The system is demonstrated in the following video.
Source: National University of Singapore