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UW-Madison Researchers Create Smart Bandage

Thursday, December 9th, 2021 -- 12:00 PM

(WMTV) A newly developed bandage created by University of Wisconsin- Madison researchers can speed the time of a person’s wound healing by using the body’s own energy, researchers say.

The UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health explained Tuesday that the “futuristic” bandage was shown to heal a wound four times faster than a traditional one.

The bandage uses a tiny generator to catch energy from a person’s natural movement, such as breathing or twitching. It then converts that energy into mild electric pulses that are sent to an electrode in the bandage, creating an electric field around the wound and healing it.

Dr. Angela Gibson, assistant professor of surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, explained that the original tests conducted about three years ago were using rats.

The “encouraging” findings were published in September, but doctors noted more testing needed to be done to prove they they were successful on human skin.

“When we tested it on wounded human skin that we’d grafted onto a mouse, the wound healed completely in seven days compared to the typical 30 days using a standard dressing,” Dr. Gibson said.

Xudong Wang, professor of materials science and engineering at UW–Madison, stated that he and his colleagues have made improvements to the bandage to decrease its size and increase the practicality of it, without negatively impacting test animals.

“We made improvements in the bandage between our original study and this one by incorporating the nanogenerator into the bandage itself, and by weaving the material to better mimic the way skin stretches so it could capture more of the energy from subtle body movements,” Wang said.

“We’re very excited about the results in human skin.” The team expects the bandages to not cost more to manufacture than a regular bandage. Dr. Gibson hopes they will be able to move to clinical trials in the next few years after testing on large animals for safety and effectiveness.

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