If you’ve ever suffered an injury that requires bandage, then you know that horrifying pain of having to replace the bandages, moreover if we’re talking about burn victims or various other injuries that require daily replacement over a long period of time. A new Israeli startup claims that it has developed a smart bandage that aims to provide a painless solution and save the suffering of millions worldwide. Even all-around smart guy and professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. Dan Ariely has joined in on the project.
The secret: smart polymers
Israeli company Inteligels develops smart medical polymers, able to change from solid to liquid and back again. This offers a painless solution that aims to replace the standard “ripping off” of the bandaid, which harms the surrounding renewing skin cells and replaces it with an easy-to-use trigger that switches the bandage back to liquid form. The company claims that cooling is an effective trigger, while others may be adjusted to trigger into liquid form and solidify depending on changes in PH levels.
The bandage can be applied at any angle anywhere on the body, as it’s fitted to the human body’s anatomy, enabling bandage of joints and other hard to wrap areas. Without the need of any alien instruments, the substance turns from gel to a solid and stable bandage once it touches the skin.
Obviously, when talking about innovative materials, you can’t just stop with one cool trick, so the developers made the bandage transparent, allowing medical personnel to easily monitor the wound’s condition without removing the bandage, as done today. And if that’s not cool enough, Inteligels has developed smart bandages that are able to release controlled doses of medicine including antiseptics, antibacterials, pain relief, and more.
In a talk with Geektime, CEO Yair Sapir explains that already during formulation, it bonded (chemically) with molecules of materials that cause a positive reaction when released on the skin or a wound: “As with state of matter characteristics, the formulation is designed so that at a certain temperature, PH level, or by other triggers, allows for the formulation to safely release the “locked up” material onto the surrounding environment,” explains Sapir.
Even Duke professor Dan Ariely is on board
The idea was birthed from the brilliant minds of Hebrew University professor Daniel Cohen and Alex Brown, General Partner and Development Director at Inteligels. The two have been developing and industrializing polymers for many years, but after witnessing the suffering of someone close due to bandage change, the two decided to utilize smart polymers for medical care. Obviously, this got Duke professor Dan Ariely, who has suffered 3rd-degree burns and is more than familiar with the agonizing process, in on the project by joining the company’s advisory team.
The company’s proprietary polymers can be used for other medical practices, other than smart bandages, like gel products, sprays, which can be deployed in a variety of medical, cosmetic, or even veterinarian practices. The company’s smart bandages are currently under the regulatory review of both the FDA and CE, and the company expects the polymers to hit markets by mid-2021. Currently, the bandages are in use and marketed by a German developer of veterinarian products for animal care.
Inteligels further explains that its product can be made for the consumer market as well, where you could buy a smart polymer bandaid at any pharmacy, and apply it next time your kid falls off the bike or you miscalculate your vegetable chopping skills. You will be able to decide if you prefer to purchase a bandage that comes off in hot or cold water, saving you from the hair-plucking pain of literally, ripping off the bandaid.
Inteligels was founded in 2018 by CEO Yair Sapir; R&D Director Alex Brown; Business Development Ori Weisberg; CFO & Head of International Collaborations Nimrod Elmish; and Product Strategy Arnon Krongrad, M.D. To date, the company has raised about $2 million in Seed money, with $400,000 coming from a strategic investor from the U.S. The company employs 2 of its executives as salary workers, with professor Daniel Cohen running a lab at the Hebrew University, which operates as an outside supplier of R&D for the smart bandages and future endeavors.