For millions of people with diabetes, there is a serious risk of injury to their limbs—a problem that can even result in amputation in severe cases. That’s due to a collection of disorders called diabetic neuropathy that leave sufferers with nerve damage. Because of that nerve damage, many people with diabetes don’t notice potentially serious injuries. That’s particularly true when the injury is on a foot where a person might have a hard time seeing it.
In response to that danger, students from Houston’s Rice University have created a device that makes it easy for sufferers of diabetes to inspect their own feet. That device is an inexpensive setup consisting of a box with a mirror and toe separator, along with a camera connected to a Raspberry Pi. A person with diabetes simply places their foot on the platform, and the camera takes photos of the top and bottom of their foot.
Those photos can then be viewed on a website running on the Raspberry Pi, so it’s accessible from any local device, like a smartphone. If they notice an injury, they can then forward the photos to their doctor. The entire system is affordable, because it uses readily available off-the-shelf components. It’s also small enough to sit unobtrusively in most people’s bathrooms, making it practical for everyday use.