Chronic non-healing wounds due to diabetes and the associated amputations diminish quality of life and represent a major health problem for the US healthcare system, with higher incidence in the veteran population. A wearable piezoelectric bandage is proposed as an enhancer for wound healing, as low intensity vibrations (LIVs) have been shown to acutely increase perfusion in both humans and mice. Early studies by the authors indicate that a novel therapy utilizing LIVs promote tissue perfusion, granulation tissue formation and wound healing in diabetic mice. The data further indicate that LIV increases levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 in blood and wounds and thus IGF-1 may mediate LIV-induced healing.
This paper presents the preliminary design and development of a wearable prototype which consists of a piezoelectric disk element controlled by a microcontroller that can vary duty cycle, frequency, and amplitude. The user can control the device with a mobile app by the way of Bluetooth communication between the microcontroller and a mobile phone. The excitation parameters can be remotely changed by the use of the app. The app is saved as an Android application package, allowing it to be installed on any Android device that has developer mode enabled in the system settings. In addition, this paper serves at as a brief review article of former research relevant to the development of the piezoelectric bandage.