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Communications of the ACM


The Hyper-Intelligent Bandage

prototype electronic skin patch

This prototype electronic skin patch can store and transmit data about a person's movements, receive diagnostic information, and release drugs into skin.

Credit: National Science Foundation

In the recent movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, the supremely skilled archer Hawkeye suffers a major injury to his midsection during the opening battle. Hawkeye is quickly wrapped up and whisked back to superhero headquarters, where a bioengineer repairs the terrible wound, using a tool that scans and then prints a new layer of synthetic skin across the injured area. After a quick recovery, he is soon up and racing back into action.

If only wound treatment were that advanced in the real world. Unfortunately, effectively dealing with major wounds and burns, whether they stem from disease or the battlefield, remains a technical and scientific challenge.


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