Researchers develop connected stitches that transmit patient health data

Nobody wants stitches. They suck when they put them in, they suck when they take them out. They feel antiquated, like some holdover from a medieval medical manual, but they get the job done.

A team at Tufts University is working not so much to replace as augment the age-old technology, dragging them kicking and screaming into the 21st century by adding an element of connectivity. In a phrase, “smart stitches.”

The team outlined the technology in a paper published by Microsystems & Nanoengineering, detailing the addition of embedded electronics and sensors to threads used to sew patients back together. The team essentially turned the stitches into low cost circuits able to gauge strain, chemical compositions, temperature and pressure, among other things.

The data, when compiled, helps provide a portrait of how the healing process is coming along and whether the stitches are having their intended effect. The system created by the researchers could also serve to monitor for signs of inflammation and bacterial infections.

The paper goes on to detail body monitoring potential outside of surface stitches, potentially providing key data like the proper functioning of internal organs.

via Popular Science