(Photo courtesy of Palarum)

When it comes to creating high-tech socks, product news comes in pairs.

Separate companies on both sides of the Atlantic recently announced product expansions for “smart” socks that are aimed at the senior market. 

Palarum’s PUP SmartSock — the acronym stands for “Patient is Up!” — will be adopted within the VA Boston Healthcare System, it was reported this week, whereas a UK startup, Milbotix, has begun a pilot program for its Smartsock technology at a care home in Exeter, MA. 

Interestingly, although both products involve socks fitted with sensor systems, their uses are targeted for differing conditions. 

Palarum’s SmartSock is meant to assist with fall-risk patients and to reduce costly incidents at facilities, whereas the British sock is designed to alert nurses about a patient’s stress or anxiety levels, Milbotix’ website states.

The Milbotix sock monitors heart rate, sweat levels and motion, whereas the company’s software uses artificial intelligence to assess distress levels and alert care staff. 

For Palarum’s sock, because it is designed to alert staff when a patient has gotten up, not when he or she falls, the tech can prevent up to 70% of falls and reduces alarms, the company claims.

Both innovations are meant not just to make older adults’ lives easier, but also to assist caregiver staff in preventing emergencies. Palarum touts its ability to significantly reduce alarm fatigue among care staff, an issue many providers are trying to address

Socks are a growing target for the wearable technology market. Yet another smart sock on the market, from Siren, is aimed at people with diabetes.

Although some wearables can be cumbersome, the embedded tech within the socks is meant to be as unobtrusive as possible, makers say. Milbotix’ Smartsock is even machine washable, the company says.