The Government Office for Technology Transfer (GOTT) has funded the National Physical Laboratory’s development of an innovative new thermal imaging technology.

Thermal imaging of the sole of feet


People with diabetes are at risk of developing foot ulcers. If left untreated, these ulcers can lead to infection and even amputation. Before a foot ulcer develops, the temperature of the skin increases near the site of ulceration. Current temperature measurement techniques only measure a single area of skin at a time, making them slow and subjective, often limiting them to the sole of the foot, where just 40% of ulcers occur.

The knowledge asset solution

A team at the UK’s national metrology institute, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), have developed a new thermal imaging technology that can accurately capture the entire surface temperature of the foot in seconds, reducing the risk of thousands of potential ulcers being missed by clinicians each year, with the potential for further use in other medical applications.

Who will this help?

  • Patients: The technology could prevent 170 amputations a week in England alone, improve patient quality of life and reduce mortality rates.
  • Clinicians: The technology saves time, captures more of the skin area and identifies at risk patients sooner.
  • NHS: Early detection decreases the need for amputations, which costs the NHS around £1.1 billion a year (2017)

Funding awarded

NPL were awarded £248,502 by the Knowledge Asset Grant Fund (KAGF) in 2021 to help grow and develop their new thermal imaging company, Celsius Health. They were awarded a further £210,880 in January 2023 to help commercialise their knowledge asset and to bring the technology closer to patients.


NPL has developed revolutionary new technology for the healthcare sector and a prototype that meets UK product legislation (Conformity Assessed). A new medical tech company has also been established that will support the wider healthcare sector.

Quote from Celsius Health

Christian Saville, from Celsius Health, said the following about the support from GOTT:

As a world leading National Metrology Institute (NMI), NPL is constantly developing new technology. GOTT has helped us realise different ways of making the most impact from our discoveries – in this case via spinout.

Next steps

The Celsius Health team are seeking to raise venture capital for Celsius Health and secure medical regulatory approval. This will allow for the technology to be sold and used in the treatment of diabetes with further possible applications where inflammation, infection and blood flow are key indicators of disease.

Published 24 March 2023