Two engineering students from Jackson State University in Mississippi have created an advanced new tool in the form of a ‘smart mat’ to add to the arsenal in the fight against diabetes.
This innovative addition to the battle against the disease could very well prove invaluable to sufferers of ‘sensory diabetic neuropathy’.
This mat may very well negate the need for amputating the legs and/or feet of people who suffer from the type of uncontrolled diabetes known as ‘sensory diabetic neuropathy’ which renders afflicted persons incapable of feeling heat, cold or pain in their lower limbs. This loss of feeling means the sufferer may not be aware they are, or have developed ulcers which will eventually result in the need for limb amputation unless these ulcers are discovered and treated earlier on.
The mat measures the temperature of a person’s feet and can be used in the comfortable surrounds of their own home.
The students responsible for this latest breakthrough, Chevan Baker and Jann Butler, developed the mat for their senior design project after Butler was inspired by his Aunt’s personal struggle with diabetes which resulted in amputating one of her feet after the development of ulcers.
“We realised that a lot of them suffer foot ulcers. We uncovered an issue with temperature, so we developed a mat that diabetic patients could stand on to register the temperature of their feet. If there’s a 4 degree difference between the 2 over a period of time, the lower one would be at greater risk of ulceration,” explained Butler.
The mat still needs further work before it is sold off. The engineering team is planning on selling it for the same amount it took to develop: US $500.