‘Smart bandages’ to monitor wounds in real time with 5G

The University of Swansea is leading trials into ‘smart bandages’ which use real-time 5G technology to monitor how a wound is healing and help doctors keep track of patients’ activity levels.

It forms part of the £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) Swansea Bay City deal which aims to create a 5G test hub for digital innovation.

Professor Marc Clement, Chairman of Swansea’s Institute of Life Science (ILS), said, “5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare.”

He told the BBC, “It would connect [a]wound to a 5G infrastructure and that infrastructure through your telephone will also know things about you – where you are, how active you are at any one time.

“You combine all of that intelligence so the clinician knows the performance of the specific wound at any specific time and can then tailor the treatment protocol to the individual and wound in question.”

Future healthcare

He added that traditional medicine may be where a clinician might see a patient and then prescribe the treatment approach for a month or three months but, “What the future holds is a world where there’s the ability to vary the treatment to the individual, the lifestyle and the pattern of life.

“Sometimes we revere doctors so much that we tell them all is well but all of the evidence is there before them in this 5G world, so the clinician and patient can work together to address the challenge.”

Experts in nanotechnology would develop the tiny sensors while 3D printers at ILS would be used to produce the bandages which would bring down the cost.

TM Forum’s Research & Media team is carrying out research into the most important use cases for 5G. We’re surveying communications and suppliers and we’d love your input. Take the survey here.


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    Sarah is a freelance writer and editor with an interest in new technologies and how they impact our everyday lives.

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