Questions for ‘This electronic bandage sterilizes wounds with flashes of light’

a young boy sits in his mother's lap while a doctor wearing scrubs wraps a white bandage around his head

A doctor bandages the head of a little boy at a hospital. New electronic bandages could soon provide antibiotic-free options to keep wounds germ-free as they heal.

ER Productions Ltd./DigitalVision/Getty Images Plus

To accompany ‘This electronic bandage sterilizes wounds with flashes of light


Before Reading:

  1. Antibiotics have saved countless lives. Yet widespread use of these powerful medicines can bring some problems. One is the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What does it mean for bacteria to be “antibiotic-resistant”? How does antibiotic use contribute to the rise of such supergerms? And as the use of antibiotics increases, do you think the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria will increase, decrease or remain the same? Explain your answer.
  2. Why must cell phones contain a battery to be transportable? What is another device that includes a battery? If the battery on a device fails, what extra step must be carried out to use the device? 

During Reading:

  1. What wavelengths of light does the new bandage emit? 
  2. Describe the “hurdle” that previously prevented light-based bandages from being practical.
  3. Give one drawback to long-term prescribing of antibiotics. 
  4. Give an example of how the new bandage can be customized for different wounds.
  5. Why is the “powering coil” necessary? Approximately how near in centimeters must the bandage be to the powering coil to work?
  6. Besides people, what other animals might such a device help to treat?

After Reading:

  1. Imagine someone making the following arguments: “These new electronic bandages will never be useful — their range is too limited. Working on this technology is a waste of time. Keep in mind, we’ve used the same bandages for years, and they’ve worked for us just fine.” Identify one problem with these arguments. What misunderstanding might this person have that leads them to make this error?
  2. Amirhossein Hajiaghajani says that the “novelty” of this work lies in how the team combined two very different scientific fields — medical technology and electrical engineering — in a new way. How valuable is it for scientists to collaborate with other scientists in very different fields from themselves? What obstacles might make it harder for scientists in differing fields to collaborate? What areas of study might benefit from more collaboration? Come up with two fields of research and explain how they might benefit from such a collaboration.