Siren’s smart sock was developed in collaboration with researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK.
The population of the world is growing older. The total number of people aged 60 or more was 962 million in 2017. This figure will grow to 1.4 billion by 2030 and 2.1 billion by 2050, according to the United Nations (UN) Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA). Further, the proportion of the elderly among the total population will also continue to grow over this period. By 2050, some of the largest and most populous countries in the world (including the USA, Canada, China, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and Mexico) will have increased the proportion of their inhabitants aged 60 or more to in excess of 25% or in many cases over 30%. In 2050, the vast majority of Europe will have more than 30% of its population older than 60.
And fatter. The World Health Organization (WHO) says obesity worldwide has tripled since 1975. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight (39% of the world’s population). More alarmingly, they are joined by 41 million children under the age of five and 340 million aged between five and 19. Moreover, the prevalence of obesity is predicted to result in a prevalence in diabetes.
Health care systems around the world, already under huge financial pressures even in the richest economies, are having to plan and adapt to these realities, because they will lead to rising costs. Rates of chronic injuries such as diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers and pressure sores, for instance, all common, long-lasting and expensive-to-treat complaints among elderly and/or overweight people, are increasing rapidly.
Fortunately, developments in medical and smart textiles are already providing answers, offering cheaper and more effective care than is currently possible, as well as helping to prevent such injuries occurring. Good news for our industry, great news for health care providers and governments, and greater news still for patients who will be able to enjoy the benefits of longer, fitter and healthier lives.
A prototype of a strain-sensing knitted textile being developed to allow patients to record data for themselves while undergoing physical rehabilitation.