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Anchor Lede: The sutures that close your wounds soon might also monitor for and treat infections.
Randy Atkins: That’s possible because of an engineering advance that allows high-quality silicon electronics to not only be embedded in plastic or silk suture material, but…
John Rogers: …it’s really electronics you can tie in a knot, and that was one of the main technical hurdles we had to overcome.
Randy Atkins: John Rogers, a University of Illinois engineer, says the sutures can precisely measure temperatures that can signal infection and also deliver heat to specific locations.
John Rogers: We have micro-heaters. So we can define very specific changes in temperature configured to eliminate bacteria.
Randy Atkins: The sutures are now controlled and powered by a small external wire connection that fits under a bandage, but might one day be entirely disconnected.
John Rogers: Our vision is that these things would be smart enough to figure out what to do on their own.
Randy Atkins: With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.
Anchor Tag: The system is about two years away from tests in humans.