Two engineering students at Mississippi’s Jackson State University have developed an innovative tool that helps in the fight against diabetes.
Chevan Baker and Jann Butler have invented what they call a “smart mat,” which is designed to help diabetics prevent leg and foot amputations. The smart mat measures a patient’s foot temperature and can be used in the comfort of their own home.
Baker and Butler are both seniors at Jackson State. The pair developed the smart mat during their senior design project at the university. Butler’s inspiration to develop the smart mat came from a real life experience with his aunt. She developed ulcers and eventually had to have an amputation.
“As a result, we wanted to help other diabetic patients,” Butler said in an interview with Jackson State’s school newspaper.
In Mississippi, there is a greater risk for diabetes. The state ranks second in overall diabetes cases in the nation, according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC). The Mississippi Department of Health reported that diabetes complications are the cause of four out of every 1000 deaths in the state.
Baker said in his interview with the Jackson State Univeristy newspaper that during the early stages of development, the pair had some challenges with the smart mat’s temperature sensor pads. When feet contained moisture, the sensors gave off temperature readings that were not accurate.
The pair corrected this by switching to a more durable waterproof sensor called the lily pad. These two young men also plan to undertake more innovative design projects before they graduate this year at Jackson State University.