The monitoring of some parameters, such as pressure loads, temperature, and glucose level in sweat on the plantar surface, is one of the most promising approaches for evaluating the health state of the diabetic foot and for preventing the onset of inflammatory events later degenerating in ulcerative lesions. This work presents the results of sensors microfabrication, experimental characterization and FEA-based thermal analysis of a 3D foot-insole model, aimed to advance in the development of a fully custom smart multisensory hardware–software monitoring platform for the diabetic foot. In this system, the simultaneous detection of temperature-, pressure- and sweat-based glucose level by means of full custom microfabricated sensors distributed on eight reading points of a smart insole will be possible, and the unit for data acquisition and wireless transmission will be fully integrated into the platform. Finite element analysis simulations, based on an accurate bioheat transfer model of the metabolic response of the foot tissue, demonstrated that subcutaneous inflamed lesions located up to the muscle layer, and ischemic damage located not below the reticular/fat layer, can be successfully detected. The microfabrication processes and preliminary results of functional characterization of flexible piezoelectric pressure sensors and glucose sensors are presented. Full custom pressure sensors generate an electric charge in the range 0–20 pC, proportional to the applied load in the range 0–4 N, with a figure of merit of 4.7 ± 1 GPa. The disposable glucose sensors exhibit a 0–6 mM (0–108 mg/dL) glucose concentration optimized linear response (for sweat-sensing), with a LOD of 3.27 µM (0.058 mg/dL) and a sensitivity of 21 µA/mM cm2
in the PBS solution. The technical prerequisites and experimental sensing performances were assessed, as preliminary step before future integration into a second prototype, based on a full custom smart insole with enhanced sensing functionalities.
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