Health and medicine are areas that are expected to embrace technology much more in the coming years with increasingly impressive results – no more so than new research looking into creating stitches packed with sensors that can monitor wounds as they heal.

That is what a team are doing at Tufts University in Massachusetts, where they’ve developed so-called “smart stitches” that can not only be used to close wounds to aid the healing process, but also capture data in real-time on the status of the injury, reporting it back to doctors.

Smart stitches
(Tufts/Microsystems & Nanoengineering

The thread used to make these stitches has been dipped in conductive ink, so that they can transmit small amounts of electricity, as well as other thread that can carry liquid through tissue. The combination meant that scientists were able to create stitches and bandages that can monitor different features of wounds, including strain, temperature, pH level and chemical composition, all of which can be sent wirelessly to a remote device for analysis on the state of the wound.

It can then be monitored by doctors to give them an overview of the health of the patient.

The researchers have admitted there is still some way to go before the stitches could be used in the real world, having only done limited testing so far.