MIT have created what could potentially be the ‘Band Aid of the Future’. The band-aid is made from a material called hydrogel – a stretchy, smart material made of polymer and water that can change its structure in response to specific stimuli. Incorporating temperature sensors, LEDs and drug-delivering reservoirs this smart wound dressing responds to the patient’s vitals. Designed to release medicine in response to changes in skin temperature and lights up when the medicine is running low.
“Electronics are usually hard and dry, but the human body is soft and wet. These two systems have drastically different properties,” says Professor Xuanhe Zhao. “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.”
Hydrogel has the potential to revolutionise medical care, a biocompatible vehicle that will be able to deliver electronics inside the body. MIT are currently exploring the possibilities of this material as a carrier for glucose sensors as well as neural probes.