Smart Bandages: First aid that can talk to your doctor and deliver medical treatment Scientists are developing bandages that not only cover a wound, but can communicate with your doctor and even deliver therapeutic pulses of light or electricity.

Smart Bandages: First aid that can talk to your doctor and deliver medical treatment

Smart Bandages: First aid that can talk to your doctor and deliver medical treatment

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Scientists are developing bandages that not only cover a wound, but can communicate with your doctor and even deliver therapeutic pulses of light or electricity.

ROB SCHMITZ, HOST:

Coming soon to an injury near you, smart bandages - first aid that can talk to your doctor and even deliver medical treatment.

(SOUNDBITE OF BAND-AID COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (Singer) I am stuck on Band-Aid brand 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me.

SCHMITZ: Think of them as high-tech cousins to the Band-Aids you put on your scraped knee as a kid.

GEOFFREY GURTNER: It looks kind of like a gel Band-Aid with electronic circuits on the top.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner chairs the department of surgery at the University of Arizona. He's among the many researchers developing smart bandages. He's working on one with Stanford University.

GURTNER: Our particular bandage is meant to sense impending infection, and then to deliver therapy to prevent the infection.

SCHMITZ: His smart bandage treats wounds with electrical pulses.

GURTNER: Other bandages might deliver antibiotics remotely, or light as the modality for therapy.

SCHMITZ: The Pentagon is funding Gurtner's research. It hopes the bandages could help treat wounded soldiers, and others, during war.

GURTNER: There's a lot of interest in devices that can be carried by the field medics that can deliver some of those therapies on the battlefield.

MARTIN: Smart bandages could one day help diagnose and treat postoperative infections, but Gurtner says that's a ways off. The first generation of devices, he says, should start hitting the market in two to three years.

SCHMITZ: So, Michel, are you a fan of this? Would you use this - these smart bandages?

MARTIN: I do not like smart anything.

SCHMITZ: (Laughter).

MARTIN: I think I would personally like these devices to teach people things like please and thank you and not to cut into me at traffic without signaling. That's what I'd like.

SCHMITZ: Those are lofty goals, Michel.

MARTIN: I know.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE OLYMPIANS' "SAGITTARIUS BY MOONLIGHT")

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