Preventing unnecessary amputations

Wearable technologies are being developing to detect changes in the way people walk in order to prevent diabetes-induced amputations

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia; increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Among other complications, nerve damage can cause a lack of feeling in patients’ feet, meaning cuts and sores may go unnoticed and eventually become infected or ulcerated. If severe enough, this can lead to amputation. Research has shown that creating effective ways for patients and health care practitioners to proactively prevent damage can prevent serious complications and amputations. SensiLab is collaborating with Monash Health, Health Collab (MADA) and industry partner Blundstone, to develop a new device that can help with early detection.

Through research and interviews with stakeholders from Monash Health our research partners have highlighted issues and opportunities for interventions in the treatment and prevention of complications in patients’ feet. Working collaboratively with these partners SensiLab is developing a ‘smart shoe’ that can track changes in the way patients walk in order to spot early warning signs of possible damage.

Bespoke, flexible circuit boards have been developed that can be embedded in the sole of the shoe

Following on from proof-of-concept prototypes, a smart orthotic is currently being developed by embedding electronics within a silicone insole. It will be accompanied by an app that can be run on smart devices that will monitor changes in pressure over time. Machine learning will be integrated into the app to ensure patients and health care providers are alerted to anomalies as early as possible.

The research is on-going.

Project members

SensiLab

Elliott Wilson
Dilpreet Singh
Jon McCormack

Health Collab

Mark Armstrong
Daphne Flynn
Rowan Page
Kieran John
Tina Dinh
Allison Edwards

Monash Health

Alan Saunder
Shan Bergin

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