Magazine article The Crisis

Invention Helps Diabetics

Magazine article The Crisis

Invention Helps Diabetics

Article excerpt

Four engineering students at Jackson State University in Mississippi have invented a device that has the potential to prevent foot amputations in diabetic patients.

Chevan Baker, Jordan Barber, Jann Butler and Fred Harris spent nearly a year developing the Smart Mat, a device that measures and records foot temperatures, as part of a senior engineering project.

The Smart Mat sits on the floor and has two insoles that indicate where feet should be placed. Once a person places his feet inside the inserts, foot temperature is measured. If the variance in temperature between the two feet is more than four degrees consistently over a period of time, the foot at the lower temperature may be at risk for amputation. The data collected are sent to an Android application and shared with health professionals who can intervene with preventive measures.

"Ifyouarediabetic and you develop a sore, you can't always feel it.

It's much harder to feel anything and by the time the doctor catches it, it may be too late," Barber said. The Jackson, Miss., native explained that neuropathy is common in diabetic patients. "The idea is to catch it early enough to prevent amputation."

Baker, a native of Kansas City, Mo., said his team tossed around several ideas before it settled on developing a mat, which was created for less than $300.

"The mat was something that was simple and easy for people to use," said Baker who sees the Smart Mat as a product that can be easily placed in the bathroom of any home and used daily. …

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