Can This Smart Sock Tech Help People Living With Dementia?

A young inventor who quit his job to study at the Robotics Laboratory at the University of Bristol is very interested in helping people with dementia. He made socks as a piece of wearable technology for people with dementia.

Why Did Zeke Steer Quit His Job?

Because she had dementia, Zeke Steer’s great-grandmother was often angry and mean. Her calm attitude turned into a string of angry outbursts. She even said that Steer’s grandmother had taken something. Steer, a British citizen, quit his job as a software engineer in the defense industry to look into how wearable technology and artificial intelligence (AI) might help his dementia-stricken great-grandmother.

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What Did Steer Do?

“A few years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she started having violent outbursts that put a lot of stress on my family,” says Steer, who remembers his great-grandmother Kath as a “lovely and social” woman who liked jazz music.

Since his great-grandmother had the same problems, he wanted to see if wearable tech and artificial intelligence (AI) could help. While Steer was in graduate school, he worked at the Garden House at Cote Lane. This place was run by the St. Monica Trust and cared for people with dementia. His great-grandmother told him that she was not the only one who acted this way.

Steer got the idea for Milbotix, a company he started in February 2020 that makes wearables, while he was working there. The narrator says that he realized that his grandmother’s bad behavior was not a one-time thing and expected terrible behavior.

What Are Smart Socks?

Bright socks look and feel like regular socks, can be washed in a washing machine, and don’t need to be charged. They could, however, watch a person’s heart rate, how much they sweat, and how they move to learn about their mood in real-time. The socks made an app that caregivers can use to determine how worried a patient is.

Wearables that track heart rate and sweat can measure stress, but these wristbands might make patients feel bad about themselves or add to the user’s stress. Steer says that socks, which most people wear every day, are a great place to look for signs of stress. “Our study found that the socks can correctly identify signs of stress in people with dementia and autism and the people who care for them,” the researchers said.

Smart Sock Dementia

What Do People Think About Steer’s Work?

He was very interested in dementia from the first day he joined our team, and he worked hard to make the lives of our patients, their families, and our staff better. The Garden House Care Home manager, Fran Ashby, said, “We were blown away by how his technology could help identify agitation and tell staff what to do before it turned into disturbing behavior.”

People with dementia might be able to keep their dignity and have a better quality of life if they use modern tools like “smart socks.” Professor Judith Squires, the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said, “It’s great to see Zeke using the skills he learned here to help some people who need it the most.” Judith is the name of the teacher. Zeke’s groundbreaking research could help millions of people live better lives. Mailbox has our full support.”

How About Some Facts And Figures?

The Alzheimer’s Society says that there will be 1.6 million people with dementia in the UK alone. The charity says that every three minutes, someone gets dementia. It is thought that dementia costs the US $42.79 billion every year.

On the other hand, the government of the UK says that 1% of the population, or 700,000 people, have autism. 15–30% of these people have trouble putting what they want to say into words. The Alzheimer’s Association says that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will cost the US $321 billion in 2022. Medicare and Medicaid will pay out a total of $206 billion. More than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease right now, and one non-profit says that number will rise to more than 13 million by 2050.

What Are Milbotix’s Plans For The Future?

Steer’s main goal right now is to grow his business. Before the socks go on sale next year, he has people in the middle to late stages of dementia try them on. Mailbox is likely to have a funding round in the second half of 2022. The Alzheimer’s Society Accelerator Program will help Milbotix develop its wearable technology, develop new ideas, and test the socks.

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