Electronic socks check diabetics' feet for heat
Diabetics often lack sensitivity in their feet, which means that they may not know when foot ulcers are forming. If such ulcers do form and get infected, amputations are sometimes required. The sensor-equipped Siren Diabetic Sock, however, is designed to help keep that from happening.
Made from what the company calls Neurofabric, each sock has multiple microsensors woven into the material. These sensors continuously monitor the temperature of each foot at six key locations. If the temperature spikes in any of those places, it could be caused by the inflammation that precedes a diabetic foot ulcer.
With that in mind, should any of the sensors detect such a spike, a Bluetooth module on the sock will send an alert to an iOS/Android app on the wearer's phone, letting them know that they should get their foot checked before an ulcer forms.
If the user doesn't have a smartphone, there's also an included Siren Hub device that can wirelessly communicate with the socks, transmitting data to Siren staff who in turn send alerts via landline or email.
The socks themselves are seamless, are claimed to be comfortable, and are machine-washable. It's important that they don't get worn out and saggy, though, so the company is selling them via a subscription service in which five new pairs are sent to each customer every six months – which is the amount of time that the coin cell battery in each Bluetooth module is claimed to last.
The service just launched this Wednesday, and for the next 30 days can be purchased at a rate of US$19.95 per month.
Both the University of Jerusalem and Germany's Fraunhofer research group, incidentally, are developing electronic diabetic socks that warn of ulcers by measuring foot pressure, not temperature.
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