A flexible, self-powered bandage created by a research team from the University of Wisconsin, Madison converts skin movements into a therapeutic electric field.
To power the bandage, the scientists engineered a wearable nanogenerator by overlapping sheets of polytetrafluoroethylene, copper foil, and polyethylene terephthalate. The nanogenerator converted skin movements, which occur during normal activity or even breathing, into small electrical pulses. This current flowed to two working electrodes that were placed on either side of the skin wound to produce a weak electric field. The team tested the device by placing it over wounds on the backs of rats. Wounds covered by the e-bandages closed within three days, compared with 12 days for a control bandage with no electric field. The researchers attribute the faster wound healing to enhanced fibroblast migration, proliferation, and differentiation induced by the electric field.