VICTORIA, Australia – A PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne has developed smart socks that allow physiotherapists to track the treatment of patients with chronic pain. The socks, developed by Deepti Aggarwal, provide clinicians with real-time information on a patient’s lower body movements. The SoPhy socks are embedded with three sensors that, when worn by the patient, capture information about weight distribution, range of movement and foot orientation for the patient’s lower limb movements. The socks are then coupled with a web-interface that presents the captured information to physiotherapists using foot sketches. During a video consultation, the patient wears the SoPhy socks and performs exercises that they would do in a face-to-face session, then they receive real-time feedback on the changes in their movements. “Through SoPhy, we hope to inspire design thinking toward making novel systems for video consultations that sufficiently meet the needs of both patients and clinicians,” said Aggarwal. The data collected also helps physiotherapists to correct their assessments when the visual cues are misleading, allowing them to adapt the exercises based on the patient’s condition. The SoPhy sock system was tested in a successful clinical trial at Royal Children’s Hospital. Aggarwal said the socks are not meant to be a replacement for in-person consultations but to support remote patients in critical situations.
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