"Diabetes has been a persistent and long-standing issue within my family, with both of my grandparents succumbing to this condition."
Witnessing the struggles of diabetes inspired a young student from Noida to innovate a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry in India.
Healthcare startups are leveraging disruptive innovations to reshape the landscape of healthcare technology, particularly in the field of diabetic care. One such startup is FeetWings, founded by Mr. Hrithik Jaiswal. Their innovative technology aims to transform the lives of diabetic patients around the world.
FeetWings offers an innovative solution for the early detection and management of diabetic complications. This is achieved through non-invasive, affordable, and continuous monitoring using a remarkable creation - the smart sock.
The Diabetes Demography of India and Its Risks
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in India, an estimated 77 million people over the age of 18 suffer from diabetes (type 2), and nearly 25 million are pre-diabetic, at a higher risk of developing diabetes in the near future. Hrithik's family history of diabetes and the long-term complications associated with this lifestyle disease inspired him to innovate a product that addresses the critical problems arising from diabetes.
Patients with lifestyle diseases like diabetes face constant risks of developing life-threatening complications such as neuropathy, foot ulceration, and hyper/hypoglycemia. These complications are rarely detected at an early stage due to the lack of visible symptoms. This is primarily because of the absence of continuous and consistent monitoring of the patient's vital parameters, as Hrithik pointed out.
In an insightful conversation with Mr. Hrithik Jaiswal, we delve into the journey of the startup founder, the challenges he encountered, how he overcame them, and what sets FeetWings apart from other health tech startups.
FeetWings: Addressing Critical Problems
FeetWings confronts a pressing issue faced by individuals with lifestyle diseases like diabetes. These patients are constantly at risk of life-threatening complications, including neuropathy, foot ulceration, and hyper/hypoglycemia. The challenge lies in the early detection of these complications due to the lack of visible symptoms. Continuous and consistent monitoring of critical parameters is the missing link.
"The objective is to create the first non-invasive, data-backed commercially viable product. The most challenging part is taking the first step. If you ensure that you have the right people on your board and your idea resonates with a large number of people, you just need to take that initial step. Patients with lifestyle diseases like diabetes deal with the constant risk of developing life-threatening complications like neuropathy, foot ulceration, and hyper/hypoglycemia. These complications are rarely detected at an early stage due to the lack of direct visible symptoms. This happens because of the lack of continuous and consistent monitoring of critical parameters of the patient," he says.
How Does Smart Textile Technology Help Fight Diabetes?
At the core of FeetWings' innovation lies their smart textile technology. They embed state-of-the-art sensors as electronic strands within the core of the yarn. This smart yarn is extremely flexible, offering comfort similar to regular socks, and can be easily laundered. The key to FeetWings' success is their focus on providing effective solutions for diabetes management.
Explaining this, Hrithik said, "We introduced innovative smart textile technology that allows us to embed state-of-the-art sensors as electronic strands right at the core of the yarn. The strand is extremely flexible and provides your feet with ample breathing room. It can be washed and dried just like your regular socks.
"FeetWings aims to offer non-invasive blood glucose monitoring and an easy management system for diabetics, alerting them and providing tips and tricks for diabetes management. The smart sock is designed for people suffering from neuropathy and is created to alert users 30 days before the clinical manifestation of a foot ulcer. We monitor your blood glucose levels and recommend steps to bring your glucose levels back into the safe zone."
The Technology Behind FeetWings
The process is straightforward. Users wear the smart sock, allowing the embedded sensors to gather vital data about their bodies. The reader, connected to the user's smartphone via Bluetooth, transmits this data to a dedicated app. The app, equipped with AI-driven capabilities, immediately alerts users to any anomalies and recommends necessary actions. Additionally, this data facilitates streamlined communication with healthcare providers, enhancing the quality of treatment.
"The final decision is ultimately made by your podiatrist or diabetologist. We are here to assist and synergize with the existing ecosystem," said Hrithik.
How Did GSEA Help Hrithik Achieve His Entrepreneurial Dream?
Hrithik was one of the runners-up in the Global Students Entrepreneurs Award (GSEA) organized by the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). Sharing his experience, Hrithik said GSEA provided the initial push his entrepreneurial dream needed. Apart from the prize money, he received mentoring support and guidance from the team.
He said, "Meeting the teams that were students of my age, who were solving problems beyond their scope, was truly inspiring. They were there, they were solving it, they had made products, and they had proper supply chains ready. So, getting those interactions and making contacts through networking greatly aided the entire process."
"The objective is to create the first non-invasive, data-backed commercially viable product. The most challenging part is taking the first step. If you ensure that you have the right people on your board and your idea resonates with a large number of people, you just need to take that initial step," he said.
Dreaming To Go Beyond Boundaries
FeetWings' vision extends beyond urban areas. They are actively working on a solution to make their product accessible to individuals in tier two and tier three cities. Their comprehensive approach includes raising awareness about diabetes and offering more affordable options for users.
FeetWings is on the brink of revolutionizing diabetic care with its innovative smart sock. By providing non-invasive monitoring and proactive management, this startup is poised to make a significant impact on the healthcare technology industry. The goal is clear: to enhance the lives of diabetic patients, prevent complications, and provide them with an effective and affordable solution. As Hrithik Jaiswal aptly puts it, the journey begins with that first step, and FeetWings is well on its way to transforming diabetic care on a global scale.
Join Our Thriving Entrepreneurial Community