Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are using the ancient Asian folk art of paper cutting, called kirigami, to make a better bandage, MIT News reports. This will be good news for anyone who has ever struggled to put a Band-Aid on a knuckle, knee, or elbow, only to have it pop off after the tiniest movement. By strategically slitting the bandage, researchers have developed a pad that can be applied to parts of the body that are "highly deformable" (that's a fancy way of saying "very bendy").
"The researchers attached the 'kirigami film' to a volunteer's knee and found that each time she bent her knee, the film's slits opened at the center, in the region of the knee with the most pronounced bending, while the slits at the edges remained closed, allowing the film to remain bonded to the skin," MIT News writes. "The kirigami cuts give the film not only stretch, but also better grip: The cuts that open release tension that would otherwise cause the entire film to peel away from the skin."
It looks something like this, in practice:
The technology could also be used for heating pads; the scientists had success putting wires through a kirigami-cut device, and found it maintained an even 100-degree temperature.
"You can always design other patterns, just like folk art," said Ruike Zhao, the lead author on a paper about the bandage advancements. "There are so many solutions that we can think of. Just follow the mechanical guidance for an optimized design, and you can achieve a lot of things." Visit MIT News to see GIFs of the bandage in action here.