Photochemical Tissue Bonding: a light touch for battlefield injuries

Paul Raven @ 11-05-2010

File under “new theoretical tech that might end up looking vaguely like something out of Star Trek”: though they don’t provide much detail or any links to such, Gizmag reports briefly on Photochemical Tissue Bonding, which…

… can replace conventional sutures, staples and glues in repairing skin wounds, reconnecting severed peripheral nerves, blood vessels, tendons and incisions in the cornea.

And how does it work?

When treating an injury, a medic applies a dye to the wound, then briefly exposes it to green light. The dye absorbs the light, which helps it to molecularly bond proteins on the tissue surfaces. The result is what the researchers call a nanosuture, and it appears to be superior to conventional methods. “No glues, proteins or other materials are used that might stimulate an inflammatory response,” said Kochevar. “An immediate, water-tight seal is formed between the tissue surfaces leading to reduced inflammation in the near term and better scar formation in the long term.”

Find wound, smear gunge on it, beam light at it. Neat trick… though I expect that superglue and adhesive dressings will remain the cheaper option for some time to come. And neither of them need batteries, either.

I wonder what would happen if you used this on tissue that wasn’t injured, though. The body-mod crowd could do some really weird stuff with this technology once it becomes street-cheap.


Smart dust, er, dew

Paul Raven @ 30-03-2009

Smart Dew electronic bugHere’s another military sf trope to add to the list of fictional gadgets gradually becoming a battlefield reality. This time it’s the turn of smart dust… though the team at Tel Aviv University have called it ‘smart dew’ instead:

Dozens, hundreds and even thousands of these Smart Dew sensors – each equipped with a controller and RF transmitter/receiver – can also be wirelessly networked to detect the difference between man, animal, car and truck.

[snip]

Each individual “dew droplet” can detect an intrusion within a parameter of 50 meters (about 165 feet). And at a cost of 25 cents per “droplet,” Prof. Shapira says that his solution is the cheapest and the smartest on the market.

A part of the appeal of Smart Dew is its near-invisibility, Prof. Shapira says. “Smart Dew is a covert monitoring system. Because the sensors in the Smart Dew wireless network are so small, you would need bionic vision to notice them. There would be so many tiny droplets over the monitored area that it would be impossible to find each and every one.”

Not quite the nanoscopic modular machines of fiction, then, but surely their primitive progenitors. Not to mention another example of military hardware that will litter disputed regions for years to come… somehow I doubt they’ve done much planning about how to retrieve them all once their job is done. [image from linked article]