A Thermal Imaging Solution for Early Detection of Pre-ulcerative Diabetic Hotspots


Foot ulcers are a common complication of diabetes and are the leading cause of amputation amongst those with diabetes. Research has shown that, an increase of two degrees Celsius in the skin temperature on the plantar surface of the foot can be an early indication of injury or inflammation. Early detection and treatment of a hotspot region may reduce the risk of an ulcer developing. This paper presents a thermographybased approach for detecting temperature hotspots on the foot. The system comprises a bespoke application and a thermal camera attachment which captures RGB images and a temperature matrix. Web-based services process the captured data and detect whether any regions of higher temperature are present on the foot, in comparison to the other foot. The accuracy of this system has been verified through a pilot study. Hotspots were simulated on the feet of 10 healthy participants. The results indicated that hotspots were correctly detected for 60% of the participants. We discuss some reasons why the results were inaccurate for the remaining four participants. Furthermore, we also suggest some potential enhancements to the system with the aim of increasing the precision of the results.

In Proceedings - 41st Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC2019)