MIT researchers develop skin like bandage embedded with micro-electronics
A team of MIT researchers led by Xuanhe Zhao, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering have come up with a soft and stretchy adhesive gel like material which can house temperature sensors, LED lights, conductive wires, semiconductor chips or other tiny electronics. This will have plenty of applications in medical tech and fitness hardware which is both skin-friendly and smart healthcare kits.
This can also be called a smart bandage with high flexibility credentials for bendable areas including elbow, spine etc. The base material of this stretchable bandage is hydrogel matrix which is composed mainly of water. Main motive for such flexible design is the functioning of body itself which renders the skin to be wet and soft. Thus, the hydrogel material has a stiffness of 10 to 100 kilopascals.
The researchers have been able to embed electronic components in a sheet of hydrogel to make a smart wound dressing having temperature sensors and drug reservoirs to deliver precision healthcare. During testing even when the hydrogel dressing was placed over flexible regions of the body it functioned without hitch.
According to Hyunwoo Yuk working on Zhao’s paper published in Advanced Materials:
The unique capability here is, when a sensor senses something different, like an abnormal increase in temperature, the device can on demand release drugs to that specific location and select a specific drug from one of the reservoirs, which can diffuse in the hydrogel matrix for sustained release over time.