SOUTH KINGSTOWN (WPRI) — Bandages are designed to prevent cuts and scrapes from getting infected, but what if they could tell you when an infection was developing?
University of Rhode Island Assistant Professor Daniel Roxbury and former graduate student Mohammad Moein Safaee designed a bandage that will do just that.
The “Smart Bandage,” Roxbury said, is a continuous, noninvasive way to detect and monitor an infection in a wound.
“We designed and optimized a microfabrication process to precisely place nanosensors inside the individual fibers of a textile,” Safee explained.
The bandage will be monitored by a small, wearable device that wirelessly detects signals from the sensors embedded within the bandage.
That signal, Roxbury said, is then transmitted to a smartphone that alerts the patient or health care provider of a potential infection.
“This device will solely be used for diagnostic purposes, however, the hope is that the device will diagnose an infection at an early stage, necessitating fewer antibiotics and preventing drastic measures, such as limb amputation,” Roxbury explained. “We envision this being particularly useful in those with diabetes, where the management of chronic wounds is routine.”
The project is now moving into its next phase, which will determine whether the bandages function properly, first by testing them on live cultured cells in a petri dish. If that proves successful, they will begin testing the bandages on mice.
Roxbury said while they’re currently focusing on small bandages, the technology can easily be applied to larger bandages.
“There really is no limitation in terms of the size,” Roxbury said. “In fact, this technology will be most useful in large bandages. Larger bandages can be more of a nuisance to remove and reapply, but our device won’t need to be removed to enable detection.”