Mahrenholz with the patch. Image: Wacker Chemie / Jan Michael Hosan

German company Coldplasmatech has developed a new wound-treatment method that speeds up healing and kills bacteria without the use of antibiotics. Their treatment, as the company name subtly hints, involves cold plasma — the state of matter least understood by the general population.

In this case, “plasma” means the ionized state of matter, rather than platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — the liquid in which our blood cells are suspended. PRP itself has shown great promise in wound healing and skin regeneration, too: you might have heard of the “vampire facial” or the many studies worldwide using PRP to heal chronic wounds.

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Screenshot via Youtube.

A group of researchers in Brussels have designed soft robots that can heal themselves when damaged, and another group of robotic engineers in Paris have built robots that can adapt their behavior when broken — two attributes once believed beyond the domain of robotic life. Both groups were inspired by their observations of nature, be it the healing characteristic of living organisms or the adjusting behaviors of injured animals, and they built their machines to mimic those attributes.   

Robots that Heal...

Like most living organisms, humans have the ability to heal. We scrape our elbows, feel the sting of a paper cut, pull or tear a muscle during a game, or we are one of 6.8 million people in the United States who break or fracture a bone each year. Thankfully, in most cases, we heal without any external aid or influence.

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