Bob Krijnen
Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School and MIT have designed a smart dressing that can eventually heal chronic wounds. The dressing consists of electrically conductive fibers coated in a gel that can be individually loaded with anti-infective antibiotics, tissue regenerating growth factors, painkillers or other medication.
A single dressing can contain multiple medications tailored to a specific wound type, while providing the ability to accurately control the dose and delivery schedule of those medications. That combination of customization and control could significantly improve or speed up the healing process. To evaluate the potential benefits of their smart bandage, the Harvard researchers conducted a series of experiments.

‍A microcontroller no larger than a stamp can be activated by a smartphone or other wireless device, sending small amounts of voltage through a chosen fiber. This tension heats the fiber and its hydrogel, releasing all the charge.
A prototype of the team's design via University of Nebraska-Lincoln

One experiment showed that an antibiotic-laden version of the dressing could eradicate bacteria. Other experiments also showed that the heat needed to release the drugs did not affect their effect and potential. Although the researchers have patented their design, it must be further tested animal and then human before it is marketed. This can take several years, although the fact that most components of the design have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The team is led by Ali Tamayol, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Nebraska. Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.
Neither did we.