One of the biggest points about the upcoming 5G connectivity revolution is that this next generation communications system has a lot of possible uses involved. Not only is this potentially the great saving grace for rural connectivity, but it's also got a great potential as a medium for the Internet of Things (IoT), a series of connected devices. One such advance is set to come in unlikely fashion: via a bandage that connects to use 5G data.
Currently, testing is underway for the connected bandages, a marvel of next generation communications technology that will use 5G wireless connections in concert with a set of 3D-printed bandages to not only protect wounds, but also gather information and relay that information back to doctors.
Such a system would allow for customized solutions—a patient recovering rapidly, as measured by the bandage's contact with a wound, might get a different program than one recovering more slowly—and thus allow for the best patient outcomes. While 5G connectivity—called “fiber without the fiber” for its high speeds and bandwidth capability—might sound like an overpowered connectivity approach, this next generation communications technology provides what one of the developers' spokesmen calls “resilient, robust bandwidth” that would be valuable in such a setting.
Reports suggest that the development of the relevant sensors will prove the biggest impediment to getting these ready, and the city where these are being developed—Swansea--needs to get its entire 5G hub up and operational before these can really go anywhere.
This isn't the first time we've heard about such technology; recently, Nokia offered up a whole slate of connected healthcare technologies at Mobile World Congress (News - Alert), including connected scales, blood pressure monitors, and more. Nokia even offered up some plans to revamp its Health Mate application, a system that serves as a kind of informational clearinghouse for all that data those scales and such collect. Health Mate compiles that information and makes it easy to make changes therein, kind of an analytics system for your own health.
The combination of connectivity and healthcare isn't a new one, but it's one that promises a lot of value. Being able to use connectivity to relay information has a great potential to reduce healthcare costs thanks not only to improved patient outcomes, but also the ability to allow at least some patients to convalesce at home, which saves money on facilities since so many rooms aren't needed for patients.
Saving money on healthcare costs represents one of the biggest potential salvation measures the United States healthcare system can see. With so much going on around insurance and the like, being able to save money—and pass savings to customers—could be just what we need to fix healthcare, and it all starts with connected bandages.
Edited by Alicia Young