Smart bandage changes color to indicate infection – and fights it

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Researchers have developed a smart bandage that changes color when it detects bacteria. Photo: bdspn74/Depositphotos

(Michael Irving/ New Atlas) – Bacteria are fast evolving resistance to antibiotics, and it takes time to figure out if a particular infection is drug-resistant or not.

Now, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a smart bandage that changes color to signal the presence of either drug-resistant or drug-sensitive bacteria. It can then be triggered to release antibiotics or other chemicals to kill off the bugs.

The concept goes that the bandage starts off green, when it’s applied to the wound. If it detects bacteria that are still sensitive to antibiotics, it will turn yellow over a period of about four hours. If it detects drug-resistant bacteria, it will turn red.

This color-changing mechanism is made possible by chemicals loaded into the bandage. Pathogenic bacteria often create more acidic environments for themselves, so the bandage contains a simple pH indicator that will change colors if those bugs are around. (…)

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