Specialists from Seoul National University (South Korea), together with colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin (USA), have created a "smart" plaster - a device that tracks the state of the body and, in accordance with the variables, selects the drug. In this case, despite the large number of microelectronics, the device remains flexible and elastic, and on the surface it does not differ much from ordinary plasterboard.
The "smart" plaster has only 4 cm in length, 2 cm in width and 0.003 mm in thickness. It is clear that these 0.003 mm, figuratively speaking, are filled with nanotechnology: researchers used silicone nanomembranes to create motion and temperature sensors, gold nanoparticles - to store information, silicone - drugs.
The "clever" patch sculpted on the skin monitors muscle activity and records information about it. If the muscles begin to behave differently (as it is necessary to understand this, it is necessary to compare the new data with those stored in memory), the patch releases the enclosed drugs in the nanoparticles. For this, the device itself heats up, and special temperature sensors are watching that this heating does not burn the skin.
Developments can be used by patients with disturbances of movement - one of the main symptoms. For example, it may be epilepsy or Parkinson's syndrome: in both cases, deterioration can trigger an expedited release of drugs from the repository in the patch.
Actually speaking, this is not the first attempt to create the most compact device, which would follow the human condition and treat it. Here is one example of a similar diagnostic system - the epidermal microelectronic device, created several years ago at the University of Illinois in Urbana and Champaign (USA). And last year, experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) presented a peculiar tattoo vaccine, which dissolves in the skin for a long time and has time to teach the immunity to which virus to fight.
However, nobody has ever been able to connect therapeutic and diagnostic functions. And this task was solved by South Korean researchers: their patch works like a nano-electronic robot, which determines when it is time to inject drugs. Thanks to its flexibility and elasticity, they can be used without fear, without fear of damaging the soft electronics.
In the future, it would be possible to think about other devices of this kind - for example, those who would monitor the level of diabetes in diabetic blood and could supply their body with insulin.
However, there is still one big problem with the "smart" plaster. The language of his power and the system of converting data from the language of physiological parameters into the language of microelectronics. Although both power supplies and data converters are rapidly decreasing, they are still far from the scale and elasticity of the aforementioned patch. When this problem is solved, the plaster will cease to be only a prototype and will be able to reach a wide clinical practice.