I was an accident prone child. I don’t know whether it was the environment around me that was unsafe or just me testing the boundaries of what was, but burning myself, breaking a bone or two and hurting myself enough to require stitches was pretty much par for course as a child. Several times each year my parents would rush me into the chambers of a doctor who would then dutifully work to repair the damage caused and recommend R&R. The tools of the trade for the family doctor was medicative balm, pain killers and sutures to hold the pieces of me together. Sutures back then were made of cotton, hemp or flax and the needles were made of bone, silver, cooper or aluminium. Oh yes, my doctor would also during the examination take my temperature, blood pressure and pulse and maybe even advice some blood work to ensure that my blood count was fine. It got the job done I guess because I am well enough to be writing this article.
The suture of the near future will be very different. Each thread will contain micro sensors that will on contact with your blood or skin draw a host of inferences about your current state. From your blood count to vitamin deficiencies to the manner in which your blood cells are reacting to the injury it will constantly measure and track how you are coping. Of course, it will stream all this data to your latest iPhone X from where your doctor can monitor your vitals sitting in her living room playing with her daughter in Mozambique. Depending on how you are doing, nano amounts of chemicals will be released into your blood stream to counter the effects of the trauma or infection to help you heal quickly. The interaction and reaction of these chemicals will be tracked and the dosage personalised in real time for your unique physical characteristics. This will be done through Artificial Intelligence and algorithms sitting on your phone which can direct the sutures to alter its actions depending on how you are doing. You may even be inclined to want to hurt yourself because the outcome will be a new rejuvenated you. In my defence of me the child, I was only hurting myself to help the medical fraternity discover new solutions to injury prone kids. Look where it is taking us.