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What is a Smart Band-Aid?

As our technological progress moves ahead we see more and more "smart" devices. Phones, cars, and tables have all been made more high tech in the past few years. The same has happened for the medical field, ranging from big complex processes to daily house hold items, like band aids. What is a smart band-aid? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to find out.

Taking care of ourselves is one of the most important things we do. Ancient humans were using herbs, plants, and flowers to help with healing cuts. The healers of the ancient world would eventually evolve into doctors as our knowledge base expanded. Dressing wounds and taking care of cuts, burns, and scrapes has been a pretty normal part of human existence. Now that we are infusing so many things in our world with technology, band-aids would eventually get the same treatment, right?

Recently, some medical scientists unveiled a new band-aid design that could make a pretty remarkable impact in the near future. A gel-like band-aid has been introduced with some great new medical upgrades. A stretchy, see through, drug dispensing design was recently demonstrated by researchers at MIT. This sticky and stretchable gel based band-aid comes with temperature sensors linked to drug delivery systems. As abnormal temperature changes take place, this band-aid can send a dose of medicine to the body in order to immediately deal with illness. The gel like material allows for opening and closing streams of medicine as needed based on every individual body’s needs.

This design is also highly flexible thus allowing it to be applied to places like knees, elbows, and other joints that traditional band-aids have trouble with. Skin related issues throughout the body are not the only place where these new smart band-aids could be used though. This design’s versatility would allow for the band-aid to be used not only within the body, but perhaps in the brain as well. Since technology builds upon itself, theoretically, this band-aid is capable of hosting glucose sensors or neural probes. The hydrogel compound used for this band-aid possesses similar mechanical and physiological properties as the brain. A band-aid for the brain, pretty impressive.

As testing rolls forward we’ll hear more about this smart band-aid in the near future. While this is a big milestone for dealing with cuts, scrapes, and burns, it’s just a starting point for the next generation of medical scientists that will build upon this design. Just like phones and cars have seen a myriad of technological upgrades in the past few decades, the medical industry will follow a similar trend. From stone tools to snuggies to hydrogel band-aids, technological growth is clearly one of humanity’s most defining features.