Smart bandage that detects temperature, bacteria type developed by NUS team

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
Prof Lim Chwee Teck (left) and Dr Gao Yuji (right), lead researchers of the National University of Singapore team that developed the VeCare platform to monitor chronic wounds. (PHOTO: NUS)
Prof Lim Chwee Teck (left) and Dr Gao Yuji (right), lead researchers of the National University of Singapore team that developed the VeCare platform to monitor chronic wounds. (PHOTO: NUS)

SINGAPORE — A National University of Singapore (NUS) team has developed the world’s first smart bandage with a sensor that can conduct assessment of chronic wounds wirelessly via a mobile app.

The sensor can detect temperature, pH, bacteria type and inflammatory factors specific to the wounds within 15 minutes, and enable fast and accurate assessment, NUS said in a statement.

The project is led by Professor Lim Chwee Teck from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Biomedical Engineering and Institute for Health Innovation & Technology (iHealthtech), in collaboration with clinical partners from Singapore General Hospital. The NUS team's research was published in the journal Science Advances in May.

With a rapidly ageing population, more patients are suffering from non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot and chronic venous leg ulcers. Timely care and treatment of chronic wounds are needed to speed up wound recovery, the statement said.

Current clinical assessments of wounds rely on visual inspection, or collecting and sending wound fluid to a laboratory to analyse specific biomarkers. The whole process usually takes about one to two days and may impede proper and timely medical interventions, according to the statement.

In response to these limitations, the NUS team developed VeCare, a wound assessment platform consisting of a wound sensing bandage, an electronic chip and an app.

The VeCare platform and app enable doctors to monitor patients’ chronic wounds remotely, reducing the need for patients to travel to a clinic.

"Point-of-care devices coupled with telehealth or digital health capability can play a significant role in transforming the healthcare industry and our society, which is catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic requirements for safe distancing," said Prof Lim, who is Director of iHealthtech at NUS.

The NUS team will further develop VeCare to meet safety, regulatory and mass production considerations.

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