New ‘smart’ socks to prevent falls in people living with dementia
In order to assist carers and care facility workers in detecting agitation and preventing falls in dementia patients, UK researchers have created a unique sock that combines sensors with AI.
UK researchers have developed a novel sock which combines sensors with artificial intelligence (AI) to help carers and care home staff detect agitation and prevent falls in people with dementia. The innovative ‘SmartSocks’ track heart rate, sweat levels and motion to give insight into the wearer’s wellbeing, providing accurate insight into a person’s cognitive state, and distress levels. They look and feel like normal socks, but do not need charging and are machine washable.
AI Helps Prevent Dementia
Current physiological monitors are frequently worn on wrist straps, which can stigmatise or even cause more stress, and are frequently removed by patients this AI helps prevent dementia. “The foot is actually a great place to collect data about stress, and socks are a familiar piece of clothing that people wear every day, our research shows that socks can accurately recognise signs of stress -- which could really help not just those with dementia, but their carers too,” said SmartSock inventor Zeke Steer, Chief Executive Officer of Milbotix.
Milbotrix SmartSocks Helps In Multiways
Milbotix is conducting a study with the University of Exeter to test whether SmartSocks can help staff working in care homes support people who may not be able to communicate agitation, or the cause of distress. “SmartSocks addresses the huge clinical need for effective and safe management of agitation, pain and distress in dementia,” said Byron Creese of the University of Exeter. In a separate study, Milbotix is working with a team at the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) Care Research & Technology Centre, at Imperial College London.
They will first test SmartSocks in their living lab, a domestic environment where they study activities of daily living and develop technologies before they can be tested in the homes of dementia patients. Then they will deploy it in the homes of 15 people living with dementia to assess the capability of the socks to detect distress and agitation in the wearer.
SmartSocks Maker Steer Said
“So far SmartSocks have been incredibly well-received in care settings, and I’m excited to see what impact our products can have in providing early alerts of agitation and falls, enabling care home staff to take early intervention, and support people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible,” Steer said.