In addition to becoming disoriented, people with dementia may also experience extreme anxiety and even aggression. To prevent these kinds of actions from spiraling out of control, a British scientist created a pair of socks that are packed with sensors.
Dr. Zeke Steer, a roboticist at the University of Bristol, originally had the concept when he saw his own great-grandmother's behavioral issues getting worse as her dementia got worse. Dr. Steer quit his job and took a PhD at Bristol Robotics Laboratory so he could find a way to help people like his great-grandmother, who became anxious and aggressive because of her dementia.
The socks will be a game-changer in care homes and will help people with dementia live longer in their own homes. They look and feel like normal socks, are machine washable, and have received positive reviews in care home tests.
First, caregivers use a smartphone app to scan a QR code on one of the socks. Then, sensors in that sock start tracking the wearer's body movements, sweat, and heart rate continually, reports NewAtlas.
The data is sent wirelessly to a cloud-based server, where real-time machine-learning algorithms evaluate it. An alarm is sent to the caregiver's phone if agitation is observed. After then, they attend to the wearer right away in the hopes of calming them down before things go out of control.
The socks themselves are fully machine-washable and have already been successfully tested in British care homes.
Dr. Steer’s rapidly growing start-up, Milbotix, has attracted pledges worth over £550k from over 500 investors in Crowdcube’s early access phase.
Investors get equity in Milbotix and their funds help the start-up’s patent-pending SmartSocks reach a global market.
Dr. Steer said: “It’s been incredible to see so many people getting behind our mission: to improve care for the millions of people living with dementia worldwide.
“Every year 200,000 people are diagnosed with dementia in the UK alone, affecting not just them but their families and carers too.
“We are determined to bring SmartSocks to market to improve the lives of people affected by this terrible disease. Thank you to everyone who has pledged their support so far.”