Because diabetics often lack sensation in the extremities, they tend to develop skin ulcers on the feet. These wounds are notoriously difficult to treat, sometimes resulting in amputations. A new insole has been designed to prevent these ulcers from forming.
These smart insoles were developed by Linh Le, while he was pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology; in New Jersey. He is now CEO of Bonbouton, a spin-off company that commercialized the technology.
Worn inside a classic pair of shoes, the two insoles each use a network of sensors based on graphene. The objective: to measure the changes of pressure and temperature of the skin in different points of the sole of the foot.
If the data indicates that localized inflammation is occurring, the Bluetooth-equipped outsole automatically sends an alert to an iOS / Android application on the carrier's smartphone; telling him that an ulcer is about to form. This app also tells users the best course of action to take. It can also be configured to alert other people; such as doctors or family members.
Then the insoles are powered by non-rechargeable batteries included. They can run for four months before being replaced. One representative told us that the company plans to offer a subscription service of $ 25 to $ 50 per month; beginning in the fourth quarter of next year.
Well, no, these are not the first ulcer prevention shoes we've seen. Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the German Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research develop socks sensitive to pressure; while San Francisco-based start-up Siren sells electronic socks that monitor skin temperature.
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