24 October 2023

AI socks will warn of dangerous distress in patients with dementia or autism

SmartSocks are equipped with sensors that send data to artificial intelligence software. Interesting Engeneering writes about the development.

Medical socks SmartSocks ("Smart Socks"), developed by Milbotix, do not use wires and batteries and can be washed in the machine without harm. But the fabric of the sock is equipped with sensors connected to an AI system. The device diagnoses distress in patients in nursing homes and other facilities that care for people with dementia and autism spectrum disorders.

Socks equipped with sensors connect to an app on a mobile device. The sensors collect physiological information from the user's ankle and send it to the app. This data is sent to a cloud platform where machine learning algorithms process the information.

The algorithms developed by the company assess the likelihood that a person wearing SmartSocks is stressed. When the AI detects any abnormality, it alerts the potential danger through the app. Then the organization's caregivers and doctors can step in and take action.

Severe forms of dementia and autistic disorders hinder normal communication especially in facilities where there are multiple patients per staff member. The socks are the least stigmatizing and medicalized way to monitor a patient's well-being and not miss dangerous symptoms.

Researchers are testing the device in healthcare facilities and nursing homes in England. The developers estimate that the trials will be completed next year, after which SmartSocks will go on sale.
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