The use of body-worn sensors to monitor physiology and provide usable feedback to individuals is still very new. Most of the devices we’ve seen so far track such things as heart rate, body temperature, respiration rate and calories burned and are used mostly as athletic training aids and weight-loss aids.
Now, Orpyx is working to release this year a system that will address the serious complications that arise from diabetic neuropathy. Due to degradation of the vasculature and nerve fibers in the extremities of diabetics, patients can lose feeling in their feet. This causes them to be unaware of excessive pressure on their feet which leads to foot ulcers and eventual amputation. The Orpyx solution is comprised of a shoe insert with embedded pressure sensors and a transmitter that sends alerts to a watch display and lets the patient know when they need to relieve pressure on their heels. The company is also working on an adjunct product in which the signal will be sent to a small back pad that will vibrate when it receives the signal, thus allowing the patient to “feel” their feet through their back.
This development is a significant one as it relates to body-worn sensor technology. I expect we will see more such devices in the future that address critical aspects of health.
(Hat tip to Medgadget)