Hydrogel "Band-Aid" Senses Temperature, Lights Up, and Delivers Medicine to the Skin

MIT engineers have designed what may be the Band-Aid of the future: a sticky, stretchy, gel-like material that can incorporate temperature sensors, LED lights, and other electronics, as well as tiny, drug-delivering reservoirs and channels. The 'smart wound dressing' releases medicine in response to changes in skin temperature and can be designed to light up if, say, medicine is running low. When the dressing is applied to a highly flexible area, such as the elbow or knee, it stretches with the body, keeping the embedded electronics functional and intact. The key to the design is a hydrogel matrix, a rubbery material mostly composed of water, designed to bond strongly to surfaces such as gold, titanium, aluminum, silicon, glass, and ceramic.