- Title: TAIWAN-SMART BANDAGE Smart bandage tracks vital signs on the go
- Date: 9th November 2014
- Summary: APP SHOWING LI'S HEART RATE, TEMPERATURE AND ACTIVITY
- Embargoed: 24th November 2014 12:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA1TRIBIUON937EG2W8TWMMUM9X
- Story Text: Students at Taiwan's National University have developed a 'smart bandage' that can tell a patient's temperature and measure other vital signs before transmitting the data to a doctor using a mobile device.
The device, designed by PHD student Li Cheng-Yuan and assistant research fellow You Chuang-Wen, could help doctors make diagnoses remotely and allow patients who need constant monitoring more flexibility in their daily lives, say the inventors.
The smart bandage is made of a soft material called Ninja Flex and produced by a 3D-printer. The inner part of the bandage has a space to put three different sensors and a Bluetooth motherboard to transmit the information. Conductive gel on two sides of the bandage transfers the body information to the sensors.
While the device cannot be used as a traditional bandage, the current design does allow users to combine different sensors, depending on what they are trying to measure.
"With our design we were hoping to provide something that's wearable, and the most convenient wearable design is something you can just attach to body," Li said. "Our system is flexible which means that medical workers can install different sensors to measure different patient body information in different situations. Once they've decided what they want to install, patients can very easily (install) what they need because this looks like a bandage and can be attached to any place on the body."
With the basic capabilities of the device already working, the inventors are currently improving the smart bandage's ability to transmit data through longer distances, allowing patients to wear it on the go.
"If a patient wanted to go outside to get a bit of exercise, traditional medical equipment couldn't be taken with them. We are hoping this kind of wearable and flexible device can keep monitoring their body even though they have left the ward," Li said.
Li's hope is that the final product will allow doctors access to more up-to-the-minute data on their patients. "You can collect your body's information through your mobile device to send back to a doctor to help you make an initial diagnosis and give you some basic advice. For example, what sort of things you should watch out for. Or maybe in some dangerous situations it can notify you in advance that you should get to the hospital to do a more specific examination," Li said.
The students, who have been working on the project since the beginning of 2014, said they had no plans to try and monetise the device once it was completed, but instead hoped the technology could be put to use to help others build better devices in the future.
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