Siren smart socks continuously monitor the foot temperature of diabetic patients and relays data to an accompanying app that provides advanced warning of a possible foot ulcer
A long-term complication of diabetes is diabetic peripheral neuropathy, where peripheral nerves are damaged from long-term exposure to high blood-glucose levels. Diabetics with peripheral neurpathy are more susceptible to severe foot problems like ulcers that can lead to infection, gangrene and amputation. A temperature difference between two feet is an early sign of a diabetic foot ulcer.
A group of researchers at Nottingham Trent University, in collaboration with the Copenhagen/San Francisco-based company Siren, have developed a smart sock that can continuously monitor foot temperature and relay information to an accompanying app on the patient’s mobile device or their doctor’s computer. The Siren smart sock has non-invasive, tiny electronic sensors that measure foot temperature and are unnoticeable to the wearer because they are woven into the sock yarn fibres.
The socks communicate to the Siren app via conductive filaments that are connected to a small rechargeable Bluetooth anklet worn outside of the sock. The app receives and summarizes live temperature data to give the user information about their foot health and advanced warning of potential problems, provides statistics to facilitate changes in behaviour, and allows the user to keep a journal. If the patient does not have a smartphone, the Siren Smart Hub base station will also be able to alert them of their foot health. In addition to tracking temperature technology, Siren smart socks can track the number of steps taken as well as the user’s foot joint angle.
The potential impact of these socks are far-reaching as diabetics with peripheral neuropathy have poor circulation and are often unable to feel when they have damaged their feet. Clinical trials have shown that monitoring foot temperature can reduce diabetic foot ulcers by over 70%, and Siren smart socks have the ability to help patients actively track their foot health to avoid serious problems in the future.
Written By: Fiona Wong, PhD