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Meet Black Students Who Developed New “Smart Mat” Idea To Help Diabetics Avoid Amputation


Four genius college students have created new technology that promises to reduce the risk of amputation among people with diabetes. Chevan Baker and Jann Butler along with Jordan Barber and Frederick Harris, are all engineering majors at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

The state of Mississippi, according to the state’s Department of Health, ranked second in the nation for diabetes in 2012. So the students decided to create a temperature-measuring device called the “smart mat” that measures foot temperatures, which will let patients know when they are at risk for complications that could lead to amputation.

How it works

The “smart mat” is designed to send early warning signals that will prevent ulceration and amputation risks resulting from diabetes complications. Some of those risks involve nerve damage and ulceration to the feet which can cause a loss of feeling; diabetes patients may not know how serious the situation is until it is too late. Monitoring temperature in the feet can result in preventing damage that would otherwise lead to amputation.



As Jann Butler explains, “A diabetic patient has abnormal (high) glucose levels in the blood, affecting its flow to the lower extremities. This causes the foot to be colder than average. By outputting temperature values, the patient can see which foot is more affected.”

Diabetes and African Americans

According to the American Diabetes Association, 13.2 percent of all African Americans aged 20 years or older are diagnosed with diabetes. African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes as whites, and they are 3 times more likely than others to have a leg amputated due to complications from diabetes.

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