A group of scientists at MIT have developed a futuristic hydrogel Band-Aid-like device that can incorporate a range of sensors and electronics. The versatile, programmable dressing will allow doctors to treat a range of injuries, continuously monitor a patient’s temperature and even release medicine when needed.
According to MIT, the stretchy hydrogel bandage—created by MIT professor Xuanhe Zhao and a team of graduate students—is made mostly of water and “was designed to bond strongly to surfaces such as gold, titanium, aluminum, silicon, glass, and ceramic.” The hydrogel is flexible enough that it can be applied to most body parts, including elbow and knee joints, and it can be outfitted with electronics programmed to release medicine at intervals or when a patient’s temperature rises.
“Electronics are usually hard and dry, but the human body is soft and wet. These two systems have drastically different properties,” Zhao says. “If you want to put electronics in close contact with the human body for applications such as health care monitoring and drug delivery, it is highly desirable to make the electronic devices soft and stretchable to fit the environment of the human body. That’s the motivation for stretchable hydrogel electronics.”
Check out Zhao’s demo video above.
Banner Image Credit: Melanie Gonick/MIT