Smart bandage changes colour to track healing wounds
A ‘smart’ bandage which changes colour as a healing wound improves or worsens has been developed by Australian researchers.
They are hoping that the innovative new creation will lead to better treatments for injuries and conditions such as leg ulcers.
The smart bandage works by changing from red to blue to mirror the temperature of the wound or ailment.
If a wound became infected, the smart bandage would change colour to red to as the temperature around the wound increased.
However, if the smart bandage changed colour to blue it would indicate that the wound was getting cooler; a sign of a compromised blood supply.
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“If the wound becomes infected then it typically gets warmer. It would get cooler if there were, for example, a compromised blood supply,” Louise Van der Werff, the lead inventor of the smart bandage, said in an interview.
The smart bandage has been developed using a fibre consisting of liquid crystals that react to different temperatures.
Temperature changes in a wound of less than half a degree Celsius are recognised by the smart bandage and it changes its colour accordingly.
Van der Werff, who is currently completing a doctorate at the University of Melbourne, is hoping that future developments of the smart bandage fibre will see it being incorporated into a fabric which can then be attached or woven into a wound dressing.
She says the main target patients for the smart bandage are those with chronic wounds, leg and pressure ulcers; ailments that often take a long time to heal properly.
People most commonly affected by these conditions are the elderly, obese and people with diabetes.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”