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Research: Temperature-sensing sock for people with diabetes

April 29, 2015
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Foot ulcers are one of the biggest risks for people with diabetes. If unchecked, these sores can lead to serious complications, including amputation.

At Kent State University (KSU) in Kent, Ohio, three academic fields of study—podiatry, fashion and liquid crystal technology--partnered to develop a fabric that may one day save the feet of diabetics.

“Any inflammation, any infection will cause an increase in temperature, poor circulation will cause a decrease in temperature and all of these things can be detected by this sock we’re developing,” Jill Kawalec, PhD, research director at the KSU College of Podiatric Medicine said in a television interview.

By putting the socks on in the morning, the individual can monitor his or her foot condition throughout the day. If the sock changes color (most likely blue or green to indicate heat), it is time to call the doctor.

Fabric is treated with liquid crystal spray to detect heating or cooling. Research continues to find a suitable fabric with the proper stretch to use in constructing the socks. Potential applications for the fabric go beyond healthcare and may find a niche in fashion design.

The team hopes to have the final product available to the consumer at a reasonable price in two to three years

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