A group of scientists working out of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts have designed the world's first smart suture - one that not only holds a would closed, but also provides live data on the progress of its healing.
Each suture, which is made from a variety of different materials including cotton and synthetics, is dipped in physical and chemical sensing compounds that connect to a wireless electronic circuit. These unique nanosensors create a flexible platform that have currently been successfully sutured into tissue in rats as well as in vitro.
When in operation, the tiny sensors transmit a spectra of biometric data including the temperature around the world, its pH balance and glucose levels to name but a few. It can also track how well the stitches are holding and whether there is too much pressure or strain on the wound.
“The ability to suture a thread-based diagnostic device intimately in a tissue or organ environment in three dimensions adds a unique feature that is not available with other flexible diagnostic platforms,” says Sameer Sonkusale, PhD, corresponding author on the paper and director of the interdisciplinary Nano Lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts School of Engineering.
“We think thread-based devices could potentially be used as smart sutures for surgical implants, smart bandages to monitor wound healing, or integrated with textile or fabric as personalized health monitors and point-of-care diagnostics,” he adds.
The smart sutures are still in the research stage, but the promising data collected so far bode well for the future of biometric tracking in humans.
Via: Tufts Now
Why not check out: Surgeons can now 3D print cartilage with new 'BioPen'