Smart insole helps diabetic patients manage health

Bonbouton develops smart insole
Bonbouton's smart insole can be inserted into a sneaker or dress shoe to monitor the foot health of diabetic patients. (Bonbouton)

Stevens Institute of Technology has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Bonbouton, giving the cutting-edge health and technology company the right to use and further develop a graphene sensing system that detects early signs of foot ulcers, so diabetic patients can access preventative healthcare.

The smart insole, Bonbouton's first product, can be inserted into a sneaker or dress shoe to passively monitor the foot health of a person with diabetes. The data are then sent to a companion app which can be accessed by the patient and shared with their healthcare provider, who can determine if intervention or treatment is needed.

"I was inspired by two things—a desire to help those with diabetes and a desire to commercialize the technology," said Bonbouton founder and CEO Linh Le, who developed and patented the core graphene technology while pursuing a doctorate in chemical engineering at Stevens. Le originated the idea to create an insole that could help prevent diabetic ulcers after several personal incidents led him to pursue preventative healthcare.

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Bonbouton's smart insoles sense the skin's temperature, pressure and other foot health-related data, which can alert a patient and his or her healthcare provider when an infection is about to take hold. This simplifies patient self-monitoring and reduces the frequency of doctor visits.

Based in New York City, Bonbouton is currently partnering with global insurance company MetLife to determine how its smart insoles will be able to reduce healthcare costs for diabetic foot amputations. In 2018, Bonbouton also announced its technical development agreement with Gore, the originator of GORE-TEX fabric, to explore ways to integrate Bonbouton's graphene sensors in comfortable, wearable fabric for digital health applications, including disease management, athletic performance and everyday use.

"We are interested in developing smart clothing for preventative health, and embrace the possibilities of how our graphene technology can be used in other industries," said Le. "I am excited to realize the full potential of Bonbouton, taking a technology that I developed as a graduate student at Stevens and growing it into a product that will bring seamless preventative care to patients and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs."

Stevens is a shareholder of Bonbouton, legally known as FlexTraPower, and co-owns two of the seven patents filed by the company.

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