Diabetes is one of the major causes of premature illness and death worldwide. Diabetes brings with it neurovascular complications, which result in the development of high pressure areas in the feet and hands. Patients with diabetic neuropathy often lose sensations in their feet while walking or standing, because peripheral neuropathy causes nerve damage in arms and legs. If not treated correctly, it could cause injury in the feet and eventually result in ulceration and even amputation.
My objective in this project is to design and build a low-cost pressure measurement and analysis system based on an Arduino microcontroller, which a patient can use at home to measure his or her foot pressure. If the system detects a problem, it can send an alert to the doctor. In the future, this system can be used to measure other vital statistics of the patient as well.
I have successfully designed and built a prototype system using a set of eight FlexiForce sensors distributed on a shoe. An Arduino microcontroller is used to measure the pressure sensor outputs and transmit the information through an Xbee wireless transmitter. I have also built a display device that receives the wireless signal and displays the foot pressure information on a LED bar graph display. The device can also compare the pressure distribution against a reference distribution and show any anomalies. The results show that such a device can be built at a low cost and can accurately measure the foot pressure distribution to detect anomalies.