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Smart bandages will be the future of healthcare

Thursday 20th April 2017
Smart 5G bandages could soon be a reality, according to UK researchers. Image: tommaso79 via iStock
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Smart bandages that allow wounds to be monitored remotely via the latest 5G technology could soon be a reality, according to UK scientists.

Researchers belonging to the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University intend to begin trials using smart bandages within the next year as part of the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City project, which will see the creation of a 5G test hub for digital innovation.

Smart wound dressings would use real-time 5G technology to send information to doctors about how a wound is healing, changing the face of healthcare forever.

Using these messages, doctors would be able to determine remotely what type of treatment a patient needs and whether or not they need further contact with a healthcare professional or can be left to heal by themselves.

What's more, the 5G technology would be designed to keep track of a patient's activity levels, meaning doctors could send advice if they need to rest or move more to speed up their healing process.

As a result, doctors would have some of their time freed up to spend with other patients, which could go some way towards easing the current pressure the NHS is under due to resource issues.

Smart bandages could also help to save patients time, as they would no longer necessarily need to go back and forth to their local GP surgery or hospital for follow-up appointments, thanks to the innovative technology allowing their wound to be monitored remotely.

Professor Marc Clement, chairman of the Institute of Life Science, explained: "Traditional medicine may be where a clinician might see a patient and then prescribe the treatment approach for a month or three months.

"What the future holds is a world where there's the ability to vary the treatment to the individual, the lifestyle and the pattern of life."

It is thought that the 5G sensors used in these bandages would be developed to incorporate nanotechnology sensors, while 3D printing would also play a role in producing the bandages, providing an example of how new technologies have the potential to transform modern-day healthcare.

Written by Martin Lambert

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