Navigation Links
Color-changing 'blast badge' detects exposure to explosive shock waves

PHILADELPHIA - Mimicking the reflective iridescence of a butterfly's wing, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a color-changing patch that could be worn on soldiers' helmets and uniforms to indicate the strength of exposure to blasts from explosives in the field. Future studies aim to calibrate the color change to the intensity of exposure to provide an immediate read on the potential harm to the brain and the subsequent need for medical intervention. The findings are described in the ahead-of-print online issue of NeuroImage.

"We wanted to create a 'blast badge' that would be lightweight, durable, power-free, and perhaps most important, could be easily interpreted, even on the battlefield", says senior author Douglas H. Smith, MD, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of Neurosurgery at Penn. "Similar to how an opera singer can shatter glass crystal, we chose color-changing crystals that could be designed to break apart when exposed to a blast shockwave, causing a substantial color change."

D. Kacy Cullen, PhD, assistant professor of Neurosurgery, and Shu Yang, PhD, associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering, were co-authors with Smith.

Blast-induced traumatic brain injury is the "signature wound" of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, with no objective information of relative blast exposure, soldiers with brain injury may not receive appropriate medical care and are at risk of being returned to the battlefield too soon.

"Diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury [TBI] is challenging under most circumstances, as subtle or slowly progressive damage to brain tissue occurs in a manner undetectable by conventional imaging techniques," notes Cullen. There is also a debate as to whether mild TBI is confused with post-traumatic stress syndrome. "This emphasizes the need for an objective measure of blast exposure to ensure solders receive proper care," he says.

Sculpted by Lasers

The badges are comprised of nanoscale structures, in this case pores and columns, whose make-up preferentially reflects certain wavelengths. Lasers sculpt these tiny shapes into a plastic sheet.

Yang's group pioneered this microfabrication of three-dimensional photonic structures using holographic lithography. "We came up the idea of using three-dimensional photonic crystals as a blast injury dosimeter because of their unique structure-dependent mechanical response and colorful display," she explains. Her lab made the materials and characterized the structures before and after the blast to understand the color-change mechanism.

"It looks like layers of Swiss cheese with columns in between," explains Smith. Although very stable in the presence of heat, cold or physical impact, the nanostructures are selectively altered by blast exposure. The shockwave causes the columns to collapse and the pores to grow larger, thereby changing the material's reflective properties and outward color. The material is designed so that the extent of the color change corresponds with blast intensity.

The blast-sensitive material is added as a thin film on small round badges the size of fill-in-the-blank circles on a multiple-choice test that could be sewn onto a soldier's uniform.

In addition to use as a blast sensor for brain injury, other applications include testing blast protection of structures, vehicles and equipment for military and civilian use.


Contact: Karen Kreeger
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Black children more likely to die from neuroblastoma, study finds
2. Military experts provide civilian surgeons with guidance on handling bomb blast injuries
3. Professor Zvi Ram presents phase III recurrent glioblastoma survival and quality of life data from the first pivotal study of the NovoTTF-100A at 15th Annual Society for Neuro-Oncology Scientific Meeting
4. Vaccine extends glioblastoma patients survival in phase II trial
5. Addition of immunotherapy boosts pediatric cancer survival in children with neuroblastoma
6. Multidisciplinary treatment of glioblastoma multiforme can extend patients life
7. Huge pelvi-abdominal malignant inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor
8. Internationally known neuroblastoma expert reviews progress versus challenging childhood cancer
9. Experimental targeted therapy shows early promise against medulloblastomas
10. Amazing Grace Charity Golf Tournament to Raise Awareness, Funds for Neuroblastoma
11. Laser Used to Blast Away Cells Causing Irregular Heartbeat
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Color-changing 'blast badge' detects exposure to explosive shock waves
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... Sir Grout of ... to the local Boston chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). This donation was ... supported Sir Grout of Greater Boston since its inception. , “We believe strongly in ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... of anesthesia and pain management services, today announced its partnership with WPC ... integrates data from disparate systems and organizes the data into an aggregated data ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... today their sponsorship of the Microsoft Dynamics AXUG, GPUG and NAVUG Summits to ... Summit and NAVUG Summit are independent user conferences designed and led by users ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Relay (, a technology company ... a significant contract that will provide its award-winning private messaging solution to Independence ... growing success of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, which now has over 550,000 ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... A child without a healthy ... SmileCareClub , the leading remote invisible aligner system, has joined with Global Dental ... without it. For each aligner treatment plan purchased, SmileCareClub will donate one clinic visit ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)...  Vitamin Angels – a charity that distributes vitamins ... nutritional support - announced its work continues to support ... The UN,s newly established Global Goals - announced on ... up to the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000 ... 17 Global Goals intend to address three primary objectives: ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... -- A minimally-invasive treatment just became available to men suffering ... than 10 years of clinical trials, the Food and ... High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a procedure that can ... and minimizing chances for erectile and urinary dysfunction associated ... pioneering Miami urologist who spearheaded ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015  ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... company focused on the development and commercialization of ... its previously announced underwritten public offering of 5,000,000 ... purchase up to 3,000,000 shares of the Company,s ... the public of $3.00. The shares of common ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: