Bandages that can detect how a wound is healing and send messages back to clinicians could be trialled in the UK within the next 12 months, according to researchers.
Bandages housing sensors that can detect how a wound is healing and send notifications to doctors and patients. The bandages would use digital technology to monitor what treatment was needed in real-time and also keep track of a patient's activity levels.
‘5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare.’
Researchers at Swansea University's Institute of Life Science (ILS) have said the technology would use 5G mobile data to send feedback to doctors in real time with information on what a patient needs to aid their recovery.
Professor Marc Clement, chair of the institute, said: "5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare.
"That intelligent dressing uses nano-technology to sense the state of that wound at any one specific time," he told the BBC. According to the ILS, nanotechnology would be used to place tiny sensors into specially created bandages that then constantly monitor the state of an injury and provide changing feedback to doctors and patients as recovery takes place over a 5G network.
The work forms part of a £1.3 billion deal for the area known as the Swansea Bay City Region deal, which includes the creation of a 5G test hub as part of digital innovation plans.
Professor Clement highlighted that nano-technology experts would develop the tiny sensors locally while 3D printers at the institute would be used to produce the bandages, keeping the cost down.