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Smart bandages will use 5G data to track your health

Tests of always-connected dressings should start within a year.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 16, 2017
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Bandages are usually very mysterious -- it's hard to know how well you're healing until you unwrap them, and that usually means a trip to the doctor. If Welsh researchers succeed, however, you'll never have to wonder what's going on underneath all that cloth. Swansea University is planning trials (due within 12 months) of smart, 3D-printed bandages that will use 5G wireless data and nano-sized sensors to constantly relay details about your health. It would help physicians customize treatment based on the progress of your wound, your location and your activity. If you're healing well and are staying active, for example, you may get a different solution than someone who's recovering slowly and needs to stay home.

The use of 5G sounds like overkill, but the school's Marc Clement says this is a chance to offer "resilient, robust bandwidth" that sends a constant flow of data to doctors.

There are a few pieces that have to fall into place for this to work: the city of Swansea needs to complete its 5G test hub, while nanotech experts have to finish the sensors. Don't be surprised if there are delays. All the same, this is promising. If your physician always has a detailed view of what's happening, you could both remove bandages sooner and visit the hospital only when it's truly necessary.

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