Smartwound from the Jenkins Group at the University of Bath is a bandage with a special gel matrix that alerts the user when an infection has occurred.


  • Early detection
  • Reduced infections
  • Reduced costs


  • Healthcare & Biotechnology
  • Wound dressings

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

The Challenge

Burn victims are vulnerable to a variety of diseases due to the bacteria that can colonize in the open wounds. The bacteria are invisible to the naked eye, but are capable of causing life-threatening complications. Often, doctors and patients find out about the infection after it’s too late, resulting in a severe injury, or even death.

Innovation Details

Smartwound is a bandage that produces a fluorescent signal when bacteria are present in a wound and should be treated for infection. It was inspired by the way infectious bacteria break down cell walls, releasing compounds that alert the body that an infection has occurred. To mimic this effect, the bandage is covered in thousands of small capsules containing fluorescent dye. Toxins released by bacteria in the wound break down the capsules, releasing the dye. Doctors can see if the dye is present using UV light.

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Biological Model

When bacteria start to colonize a wound they create a biofilm that releases toxins. These toxins break down host tissue cells and allow the bacteria to enter the body.