Skin Interface Friction Transducer

Period of Performance: 08/15/2003 - 09/30/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm, Inc.
Howard Lake, MN 55349
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Korosensor proposes to develop a skin interface friction transducer (SIFT) to prevent skin breakdown in diabetic mellitus patients, which can lead to foot ulceration and lower extremity amputation. The risk of lower extremity amputation is 15 to 46 times higher in diabetics than persons without diabetic mellitus, with the vast majority of diabetic foot complications resulting in amputation due to formation of skin ulcers. Many of these patients experience loss or complete absence of protective skin sensation (i.e. excessive rubbing, redness and swelling, excessive pressure) due to peripheral neuropathy. When a lack of sensation is coupled with abnormal pressure, a foot ulcer can form. Many of these ulcerous problems can be prevented if artificial sensing is developed to complement a patient's sensory response to alert the patient the potential exists for skin breakdown and damage. The proposed Phase I project will establish the technical and commercial feasibility of developing a skin interface friction transducer that can detect the 'stick-slip' condition in diabetic patients. A low-profile polymer sensor pad incorporating SIFT will be fabricated with several ridge elements and inserted into footwear. A series of ridges will be replicated in the sensor pad to emulate the epidermal features of human skin. Each element will be designed to sense dual-use forces, the normal (i.e. perpendicular) force, FN and tangential forces (FT) at the foot surface. The coefficient of friction will be determined. The sensor pad will be designed to promote patient self-care, informing the patient, through wireless RF telemetry of diabetic foot condition.