Washington: A team of researchers has come up with smartphone and intelligent sock combo to help diabetics ward off amputations.
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage associated with the development of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes. Resulting from anatomical deformation, excessive pressure and poor blood supply, it affects over 130 million individuals worldwide. It is also the leading cause of amputation, costing the United States economy alone more than 10 billion dollars annually.
Diabetic patients are encouraged to get regular checkups to monitor for the increased pressure and ulceration that can eventually require amputation. However, ulcers are only diagnosed after they occur, meaning that patients require healing time, which dramatically increases healthcare costs.
To address this challenge, Danny Bavli, the group’s lead engineer, partnered with Sagi Frishman and Dr. David Morgenstern, a leading orthopedic surgeon at Hadassah Medical Center. Together with other members of the Hebrew University BioDesign group, they developed SenseGO, a machine-washable sock containing dozens of micro-fabricated pressure sensors.
With SenseGO, changes in pressure due to incorrect posture, anatomical deformation or ill-fitting shoes are registered as electrical signals that are relayed to a smartphone app, which in turn informs the patient of developing risk.