SensFit Technologies, a Swinburne-led start-up company, has developed a smart shoe with inbuilt sensors which could facilitate early detection of dementia, diabetic ulcers and other physical activity issues.
The technology involves 87 smart sensors bonded with a graphene ink embedded in the soles of a shoe.
The start-up’s co-founders are Professor Franz Konstantin Fuss, a medical technologies researcher, and Dr Nishar Hameed, whose focus is developing technologies from advanced composite materials.
“SensFit Technologies will be the first company to use cutting edge graphene sensors in a smart shoe, providing a first-to-market innovation,” they said.
The sensor technology picks up the pattern of movement imprinted in the shoe. Proprietary AI algorithms analyse the data, solving specific problems that translate into actions.
The shoe then conducts a neurological assessment, helping users to understand and respond to the onset of health problems such as dementia, diabetic ulcers or the likelihood of a fall.
This can lead to early treatment – either therapy or medication – for conditions that may not have been otherwise detected.
SensFit Technologies now needs $125,000 in funding to support the technology’s development and clinical trials.
Fuss and Hameed were inspired by the medical use of pressure sensor arrays in one of Fuss’ previous projects to prevent head injuries. They saw the potential to commercialise the technology.
While developing the technology, they recruited students Minh My Hanh Le, Syed Anwar, Ali Omran, Zoe Halligan and Ashley Walsh to find the right market fit for SensFit Technologies.
“The entire student team all had our marketing hats on,” Walsh said.
“Given the many potential applications for the technology, it was necessary to identify a significant market segment where the startup could operate with limited competition.”
SensFit Technologies was initially focused on fall prevention within aged care facilities. After the students conducted data analysis, developed a market strategy and pitched to one of the top 10 residential aged care providers in Australia, they recommended expanding SensFit Technologies to assist with a range of health issues affecting older people.