Gritting your teeth when pulling off a plaster might be one thing, but for small babies in hospital the removal of medical tape can cause anything from skin irritation to scarring and joint damage.
Bob Langer, from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology in the US, has teamed up with Bryan Laulicht and Jeffrey Karp to develop a less traumatic tape by engineering it so that the tape fractures at the interface between the adhesive and the backing, reducing trauma to the skin. In contrast to current tapes, that pull the adhesive from the skin, the new tape introduces a siloxane-based layer between the adhesive and the backing. As the backing is removed, the middle layer releases the adhesive before the adhesive tears from the skin, leaving the adhesive behind in one large film. This can then be peeled off by 'finger rolling' the adhesive, which is much less traumatic.