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Smart dressing from WUT with the James Dyson Award

Photo of SmartHEAL creators

In the photo from the left: Dominik Baraniecki, MSc. Eng., Piotr Walter, MSc. Eng., Tomasz Raczyński, MSc. Eng., source: PR Hub

How SmartHEAL works?

The project developed by graduates of the Faculty of Mechatronics won in the national stage of James Dyson Award competition. SmartHEAL is designed to help heal chronic wounds.

Assessment of wound healing stage and detection of inflammation is crucial to determine best treatment. Approximately 20 million people worldwide are believed to struggle with the problem of chronic wounds. As many as 28% of patients over the age of 70 die from complications.

– We became aware of the scale of the problem as we were speaking with the medical personnel. Accurate and prompt detection of wound healing impairment and the development of pathogenic microorganisms not only shortens the healing process but can also stop a potentially fatal infection – emphasizes Dominik Baraniecki, MSc. Eng.

Traditional methods of the wounds healing process analysis are based on subjective assessment of their size, color, smell, or temperature. Testing tissue taken directly from the wound in a lab is an alternative. It is, however, expensive, time-consuming, and multi-stage, which makes it less pleasant for the patient.

Coincidence? I don't think so

Three graduates of the WUT’s Faculty of Mechatronics: Tomasz Raczyński, MSc. Eng., Piotr Walter, MSc. Eng., and Dominik Baraniecki, MSc. Eng. have developed a solution that can solve this problem. The creators, who are experts in the field of electronics, nanotechnology, and biomedical engineering, met this year in May at MedTech-Athon. The entire program and design marathon were organized by: Centre for Advanced Materials and Technologies CEZAMAT, Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer Management of Warsaw University of Technology and WUT Doctoral Schools.

– In less than 48 hours, we have developed the idea and technology of SmartHEAL. Since then, we have worked hard and created our first prototype – says Tomasz Raczyński, MSc. Eng., team leader and a PhD student at the Warsaw University of Technology.

A proprietary and innovative solution

SmartHEAL is a smart pH sensor integrated with wound dressing. By monitoring the pH values, we can assess the wound condition and detect infection without removing the dressing and thus without the tissue disruption.

– The measurement is based on an electrochemical sensor. The wound exudate reaches two electrodes, the reference electrode and the electrode serving as an indicator with a layer sensitive to changes in coefficient level. The acidity or alkalinity of the reaction is determined on the basis of the difference in electrode potentials. Then, using an RFID antenna, the result is read by the patient or medical staff – explains Piotr Walter, MSc. Eng., a PhD student and CEZAMAT employee. – Thanks to the RFID readout, the dressing does not require a built-in power supply or batteries – he adds.

Photo of hands with medical gloves holding a SmartHEAL dressing

SmartHEAL is a pH sensor integrated with wound dressing, source: PR hub

– In our research, we have developed a number of proprietary, innovative composites for the production of electronics by screen printing, using materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, or silver flakes. The combination of screen printing and thermal transfer technologies in the field of sensor manufacturing is an unconventional approach that offers the opportunity to develop sensory solutions in an industrially adapted technology – enabling a quick transition from an academic prototype to a commercial product – emphasizes Tomasz Raczyński, MSc. Eng.

The advantage of the solution, in addition to scalability, is also its price. – By combining our innovative electronic materials with low-cost textile industry production methods, we can offer a cost of approx. 50 groszy per sensor – adds Piotr Walter, MSc. Eng.

First prototype, first success

The team competed in the James Dyson Award competition. A British billionaire is looking for inventions and innovative constructions that solve practical problems in everyday life. The XTRUDE ZERO project by students from the University of Edinburgh and the Warsaw University of Technology took first place in the national stage last year. This time, SmartHEAL, submitted by three graduates of the Faculty of Mechatronics, turned out to be the best.

Thanks to their victory, the team will receive financial support, enabling them to purchase materials for further research – specialized bandages and dressings. This will facilitate adapting innovative technological processes to commonly used medical materials.

– The national competition gave us faith, motivation, and material means to further develop the idea. The victory made us realize that the project has potential and that we have the potential to provide a solution that will benefit society – says Dominik Baraniecki, MSc. Eng.

Photo of the SmartHEAL dressing on the patient's hand

The solution can help save people's lives, source: PR Hub

A short list of projects that will compete for the main prize in the international competition will be revealed on October 12. The winner will be announced on November 16th.