Nowhere is fast and effective medical treatment more important than on the battlefield, where serious injury and dangerous conditions occur. DARPA believes that the results can be improved through the use of smart bandages and other systems that predict and automatically respond to the patient's needs.
Ordinary cuts and scratches just need some time and an amazing immune system to worry about things. However, soldiers not only receive much heavier wounds, but also under complex conditions that not only hinder healing, but also unpredictable.
DARPA's Bioelectronics for Tissue Regeneration Program (BETR) will help fund new treatments and devices that closely monitor the system's progress, and real-time healing of wound healing to optimize tissue repair and regeneration. "
" Wounds are living environments and conditions change rapidly when cells and tissues communicate and try to repair, "said Paul Sheehan, BETR program manager, in a DARPA press release. "An ideal treatment would recognize, process, and respond to these changes in wound state, and intervene to correct and accelerate recovery. For example, we expect interventions that modulate the immune response, recruit necessary cell types for the wound, or determine the differentiation of stem cells to accelerate healing.
It is not hard to imagine what these interventions might involve. Smart watches can already monitor several vital signs and have indeed alerted users, for example, to heart rate irregularities. An intelligent dressing would use any signal it can collect ̵
A simple example could be a wound that the bandage safely detects chemical signals are infected with a certain type of bacteria. It can then administer the right antibiotic at the right dose and, if necessary, stop instead of waiting for a prescription. Or if the association detects shear forces and then an increase in heart rate, it is likely that the patient has been moved and is in pain when receiving painkillers. Of course, all this information would be passed on to the caregiver.
This system may require some artificial intelligence, although of course it must be quite limited. However, biological signals can be loud, and machine learning is a powerful tool to sort that kind of data.
BETR is a four-year program in which DARPA hopes to stimulate innovation in space and create a "closed" world. adaptive system ", which significantly improves the results. Another requirement is for a system that addresses the osseointegration operation for the placement of prostheses – a sad necessity for many serious injuries that occur during a fight.
It is hoped that the technology will of course run down, but do not let us overtake. It's all largely theoretical right now, though it seems more than possible that the pieces could come together well before the deadline.