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Electronic Shoe Insole Monitors Diabetic Foot Health

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Oct 2019
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Image: A graphene insole and smartphone can prevent DFU’s (Photo courtesy of Bonbouton).
Image: A graphene insole and smartphone can prevent DFU’s (Photo courtesy of Bonbouton).
A graphene-based insole embedded with a multitude of sensors measures and detects inflammation that could lead to debilitating diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs).

The Bonbouton (New York, NY, USA) Smart Insole, developed in conjunction with the Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ, USA), is designed for insertion into a sneaker or dress shoe to passively monitor feet health in people living with diabetes. The proprietary sensors are made of graphene, an extremely thin sheet of pure carbon with a high flexibility, extreme strength, and electrical and thermal conductivity. The monitoring data are sent to a companion smartphone app, which sends out automatic alerts if an ulcer is starting to form.

The data can also be accessed by the patient and shared with family members, a healthcare provider, or others in order to determine if a surgical intervention or other treatment is needed. Features include compatibility with most footwear styles; four different sizes that can also be trimmed to achieve perfect fit, maximum comfort and effectiveness; easy installation; up to four months of continuous temperature and pressure foot monitoring with the included batteries; and a companion app that is free, easy to set up, and simple to use.

“Bonbouton's smart insoles sense the skin's temperature, pressure, and other foot health-related data, which can alert a patient and his or her healthcare provider when an infection is about to take hold,” said Linh Le, PhD, founder and CEO of Bonbouton. “This simplifies patient self-monitoring and reduces the frequency of doctor visits, which can ultimately lead to a higher quality of life. I am excited to realize the full potential of Bonbouton, taking a technology that I developed as a graduate student at Stevens and growing it into a product that will bring seamless preventative care to patients and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.”

Graphene is a monolayer atomic-scale honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms which combines the greatest mechanical strength ever measured in any material (natural or artificial) with very lightweight and high elasticity. Graphene has unique optical and thermal properties which allow it to release energy in the form of heat in response to light input; it also has very high electrical conductivity. The high surface area allows bioconjugation with common biomolecules. Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov of the University of Manchester (United Kingdom) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for its development.

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