Diabetes can lead to nerve damage in the feet, an unwelcome but not uncommon related condition called diabetic neuropathy. Significant complications can result from having no feeling in your feet; the worst and most dreaded of which is lower limb amputation. We’ve written about Hebrew University of Jeruselum’s pressure-sensitive sock and companion app. Neurometrix’s DPN-check is a handheld device specifically designed to detect neuropathy. Work continues on many fronts for help with early nerve damage detection.

Two sophomores at Rice University have designed a self-monitoring imager that diabetics can use to monitor their feet for signs of injury. Many diabetics, especially when they’re older, lack both the dexterity and sufficiently acute vision to inspect the soles of their own feet. The device, which has no name yet, uses a plate on which the diabetic places one foot at a time. The control application captures images of the top and bottom of the foot using an onboard Raspberry Pi computer that then transfers them to a website for inspection.

Even if people with diabetes cannot feel their feet, the ability inspect their extremities for wounds, hot spots, or any other changes would be a great boon. The bonus of self-monitoring may also give patients a greater sense of independence and control over the disease. According to Rice University, another class of engineering students is currently working on ways to streamline the imager for potential manufacturing.