Tag Archives: Phosphor

Color helps Human’s Heal with SMART Bandages

Red means stop and green means go. This has been true for some time and is widely accepted, probably because traffic signals reinforce this behavior on a daily basis. Now these colors are being used to determine if a human wound is healing or not. SMART bandages turn green when oxygen is flowing to wounds and red if oxygen is low.

This is important technology because wounds need sufficient amounts of oxygen to fully heal. However, until now, most bandages actually restrict oxygen flow and hide the healing process, leaving wounds susceptible to unseen complications. With this new “paint-on” translucent bandage, an individual and his or her physician can easily monitor the wound’s healing process.

The creator of the bandage, Conor L. Evans, an assistance professor at Massachusetts General Hospital (at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine) and Harvard Medical School, considers the color changing technology to be a sort of mapping system. For right now, the SMART bandage maps “a wound’s tissue oxygenation concentration.” But this is only part of the bandage’s purpose.

SMART is an acronym for Sensing, Monitoring and Release of Therapeutics. Right now, sensing and monitoring are available thanks to easy-to-follow color changing technology; in the future, the bandage may be capable of “automatically [delivering] drugs at the wound site.”

The transparent liquid bandage displays a quantitative, oxygenation-sensitive colormap that can be easily acquired using a simple camera or smartphone. Image: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

The transparent liquid bandage displays a quantitative, oxygenation-sensitive colormap that can be easily acquired using a simple camera or smartphone. Image: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

For now, the bandage uses a viscous liquid that includes phosphors. Phosphors are in many glow-in-the-dark products because they “absorb light and then emit it via a process known as phosphorescence,” explains rdmag.com. This liquid is painted on the first wound. In conjunction with a different top coat, it creates an air-tight sealant that protects the wound while monitoring airflow. Then, a camera is used to activate the phosphor and capture a reading of current oxygen levels (i.e. a map of reds and greens) throughout the wound. Any camera can trigger this process—even a smartphone.

There is no telling when or if color changing bandages will be sold over-the-counter. The research for SMART bandages has been driven by an admirable goal: to help wounded soldiers. SMART bandages may soon go into field testing in efforts to “significantly improve the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.”

On a large scale, the sensing and monitoring bandage may be the start of precise wound healing. On a small scale, it is pretty cool that a translucent bandage may change color, and in effect, help humans heal.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Red Artwork is Worth Fortunes

Cutting Edge Art Blog Inspired by Current Events

The Color Red and its Many Meanings

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Can Color Exist in the Dark?

Can Color Exist in the Dark (c) tlr3automatonColors add beauty and variety to the world around us. They are pleasant from every perspective – expect the dark. After all, color cannot be seen without light. Or can it?

Color is created when light reflects an object. Light waves cause this to occur and the frequencies at which they travel, fast or slow, determines color. For instance, red has a low frequency while purple has a high frequency. If there is no light, there can be no light waves and color cannot be seen.

This is true most of the time. There is only one exception: items that glow in the dark.

Glow in the Dark

Glow in the dark products contain phosphors. These chemical substances are known for their luminescent qualities. All phosphors have three characteristics. These traits include:

  • They need to be charged. Different glow in the dark objects require different types of energy to become charged. (This is why some items need to be held up to a light before glowing in the dark.)
  • Phosphors contain the “color of visible light that they produce.”
  • The persistence of the phosphor (or the length of time the product will glow).

After becoming charged, a phosphor will illuminate. This item can be seen in the dark where other colors cannot be seen.

We Use Phosphors Every Day

Toys “R” Us seems like the keeper of all-things glow in the dark. In everyday life these items seem far and few between. But adults use phosphors every day.

Television screens, computer monitors, and fluorescent lights all have phosphors. TV screens actually have thousands of phosphors that emit red, green, and blue. Fluorescent lights have many color combinations that make light look white.

Charging Items to Glow in the Dark

The charge that generates TV and lights comes from electricity. But other phosphors use different types of energy to charge. Much of the time, natural energy is used.

For instance, glow in the dark toys are often energized by normal light. To capture this charge and maintain it for some time, two phosphors are common: Zinc Sulfide and Stontium Aluminate. These chemical substances can be mixed in with plastic to create a toy that glows.

Some glow in the dark items do not need any charge. Take watches for example; a watch may use a combination of a phosphor and radioactive element. The radioactive part can continually charge the phosphor.

With phosphors, light can thrive in the dark. Better yet, items can glow.

Image made available by  tlr3automaton on Flickr through Creative Commons Licenses.

Read more Segmation blog posts about “Out of the Box” Art:

Art Illuminates Science

The Op-Art of Josef Albers

Art and Science – A Genius Combination

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