The University of Glasgow's NFC-Enabled Smart Bandage Monitors, Heals, and Could Even Track COVID-19

Featuring built-in strain and temperature sensors with an NFC link to a nearby smartphone, this wearable could be a breakthrough.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have published details of a "smart bandage," which communicates data through a battery-free Near Field Communication (NFC) tag and that, they say, could not only help wounds heal but detect symptoms of diseases including COVID-19.

"This article presents a smart bandage with wireless strain and temperature sensors and a batteryless near-field communication (NFC) tag," the team writes in the paper's abstract. "Temperature and strain are two parameters that have hardly ever been combined for wound assessment."

"A custom smartphone app was also developed to provide the required power to the sensing tag and make real-time measurements of both parameters. [With] strain and temperature sensors, the presented smart bandage addresses the need for simultaneous monitoring of the temperature and strain. In addition, the presented system could be useful for monitoring of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COVID-19, where wearable strain and temperature sensors could provide critical information."

The bandage's smarts don't only show up in simple monitoring applications, however: Its creators claim the same technology could be used to actually accelerate healing. "A compression bandage that applies just the right pressure [as tracked by the sensor]," co-author Ravinder Dahiya told IEEE Spectrum in an interview, "could also hasten healing. The smart bandage could be used by just about anybody, especially front-line workers. They are the people who need it most.”

The work has been published in PDF format under open-access terms in the IEEE Internet of Things Journal.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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