The smart bandage is a thin sensor made of crystalline silicon and layers of porous silicon. The porous silicon is treated with a liquid that contains probe molecules engineered to bind to fat molecules found on the surface of specific bacteria. When the bandage is placed over an infected area, bacteria from the wound move into the porous silicon and attach themselves to the probe molecules, altering the optical properties of the silicon. Doctors illuminate the bandage with light from a handheld semiconductor laser device, and the bandage luminesces in a color that indicates the kind of bacteria that are present—red for E. coli, for example, or yellow for strep. With the immediate diagnosis of the culprit germs, doctors won’t have to wait for the results of laboratory cultures.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
How about a bandage that not only covers the wound but tells you the germs on it? Right here on Technology Review.