The 3D Printed Smart Band-Aid
The world is revolving and each day we hear about how new products are becoming connected or smarter. However, what we don’t hear so much about is how nontraditional products are becoming smarter. These products aren’t necessarily associated with the new technology and can include something as simple as bandages.
Last year, a research student from the National Taiwan University developed the first “smart bandage” called the BioScope. This new revolutionary design brings wearable technology to patients in the hospital. The new bandage uses the same technology as Nike FUEL and FitBit to communicate the vital signs of a patient with health professionals. Now, instead of just covering the wound, the wound is covered with a smart bandage that monitors the patient’s vital signs in real time and reports back to the health professionals.
Today health experts want to keep patients more active and this can be hard when the person is attached to a monitor that reads their vital signs. At times certain patients are attached to obstructive medical equipment that makes it hard for them to move. That alone was the inspiration behind the new bandage design.
According to researcher and PhD student Cheng-Yuan Li they are hoping this new technology will allow patients to go outside for some exercise. The new bandage is a wearable device, which will help the patient get some exercise while monitoring their vital signs when they leave the ward.
The new 3D printed BioScope can track the temperature, movement, heart rate, and internal body noises of a patient. The BioScope uses an on-board microphone that collects the data and transmits the data using Bluetooth to the nurse’s station or doctor’s computer. The final design was printed using the NinjaFlex filament; this is a special formula thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) printing material well-known for its flexible and strong prints.
The 3D printer is the perfect choice to use for creating the housing for the BioScope. All medical products have to be disposed of or cleaned before another patient can use them. The 3D printer guarantees a clean, on-demand product that can be easily customized for each patient. Once a patient has used the bandage the complicated sensors are retrieved by a medical professional and reused in the new printed bandage.
The research team believes that the BioScope can easily be redesigned into a modular device equipped with specific sensors for unique cases. Furthermore, the team believes that doctors will be able to monitor their patients remotely without the person having to stay in the hospital. This new technology can go one step further and be used in developing countries where there is no hospital available or in the military for injured personnel.