A research team at Hebrew University in Israel is working on pressure-sensing socks called SenseGo that are connected to a smartphone application that will warn diabetics of developing wounds related to diabetic foot ulcers.
Known in medical terminology as diabetic neuropathy, this condition is a painful experience for many diabetics where nerve damage can result from the development of foot ulcers that, if left unchecked, could lead to amputation.
By giving patients and their families the tools they need to prevent the development of ulcers, we can dramatically reduce healthcare costs related to diabetes.
Though regular checkups are helpful in monitoring pressure and ulceration, the ideal scenario that the team is trying to achieve is being able to prevent ulcers from developing in the first place.
“This is a significant medical problem that affects the lives of millions. We thought there must be a way to avoid these wounds altogether,” said Danny Bavli, the lead engineer with BioDesign: Medical Innovation.
How it works
The sock being developed Bavli and his colleagues, Sagi Frishman and Dr. David Morgenstern, is machine-washable even though it contains dozens of micro-fabricated pressure sensors, to address diabetic foot ulcers.
When a diabetic wears the SenseGO, the socks are able to sense changes in pressure due to incorrect posture, poorly-fitting shoes or anatomical deformation. All of these are then registered as electrical signals that are relayed to a smartphone app. The app then informs the wearer of the developing risk they should be on the lookout for.
“This is a classic mobile health approach,” said Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, the BioDesign program director. “By giving patients and their families the tools they need to prevent the development of ulcers, we can dramatically reduce healthcare costs related to diabetes.”