Scientists at the Fraunhofer Research Institution (EMFT) in Munich have developed an indicator dye that can be integrated into the dressings and plaster used to treat cuts and abrasions.
The dye reacts to different pH values and will change color if complications arise when the wound is healing. Healthy skin and healed wounds usually show a pH value of or below 5.
"If the pH value is between 6.5 and 8.5 an infection is frequently present and the indicator color strip turns purple," Dr. Sabine Trupp, a scientist at the EMFT told Gizmag.
Most cuts, scrapes and bruises aren't serious enough for a trip to the doctor, and most people choose to simply clean and bandage these "flesh wounds" on their own.
The only problem is that even an improperly cleaned or dressed paper cut can quickly become infected and put people at risk for much more serious medical complications.
With this "smart band-aid," doctors and parents could check the condition of wounds from the outside without disrupting the healing process.
Initial tests of the color changing bandages have proved successful, and the research team is already investigating ways to augment the design by implanting optical sensor modules into the dressing to measure the pH value and indicate the results on a reader unit.
Images via Gizmag and EMFT