Smart Insoles Save Lives and Give Runners Performance Feedback
FeetMe real-time foot pressure maps can help diabetics and runners alike
A team of French entrepreneurs at FeetMe has designed smart insoles that may have the capability to decrease complications for millions of diabetics.
The insoles, which look and feel much like the standard variety, contain embedded pressure sensors that enable FeetMe’s technology to map foot pressure in real time. The technology is useful for as many as 20 percent of diabetics who suffer from a loss of sensitivity and may not be able to tell when they have abnormal pressure in their feet (due to stones, small shoes or foot deformities). Left untreated, this pressure can lead to ulcers and ultimately amputation.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes affects 30 million people in the United States and more than 380 million people worldwide. FeetMe believes up to 85 percent of amputations can be avoided with proper care and diagnosis.
Using Bluetooth transmission to any smartphone or smartwatch, The FeetMe app gives users a detailed and visual representation of problem areas so that action can be taken when a change in plantar pressure is detected.
“The app guides users through a simple interface with only the most useful metrics,” FeetMe Co-founder and CEO Alexis Mathieu explains. “There is the capability to sync this information with doctors’ medical software to share the data as they attempt to treat the patient.” The insoles are designed for daily use and feature a long battery life.
After suffering from his own running injuries, Mathieu also realized this technology could prove valuable to runners and walkers. The idea is that FeetMe’s advanced machine learning algorithm can provide bio-feedback on stride patterns and how the foot strikes the ground to help anyone from casual exercisers to more competitive athletes develop more efficient movement to improve performance and avoid injuries.
The app will also include tutorials for runners on what action can be taken once enough information is captured. Mathieu tells PSFK there are 55 million casual runners in the United States and 74 percent of them will suffer from an injury.
Members of the FeetMe team come from a variety of backgrounds including business, physics, mathematics and bioengineering. The company is also supported by hardware accelerator program HAX, which helps young startups bring products to market quicker through its connections in Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of hardware.
FeetMe is currently looking for partners to accelerate their release around the world as it continues to improve its pressure sensor technologies. It anticipates a release date of September in Europe and December in the United States. Estimated cost for a pair is approximately €300.