Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research have developed pressure-sensing stockings for diabetics; these stockings are an improvement over pressure-sensing shoe inserts, which are widely used. Diabetics often lack sensation in their feet, which makes it difficult for them to know when it's time to shift their weight in order to relieve pressure on specific areas of their feet. This can lead to chronic pressure sores which can necessitate amputation.
Each of these prototype stockings for diabetics comprises two layers of breathable, moisture-wicking cotton/synthetic fabric enclosing a stretchable silicone film, both sides of which are coated with flexible electrodes. When pressure is applied to one region of the foot, the silicone becomes thinner, increasing its surface area and causing a conductive change that results in the user receiving a wireless alert on their mobile phone.
These pressure-sensing socks could significantly ease life for diabetics and reduce or eliminate the possibility of a foot or toe amputation.
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