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Agency to Design Diabetes Insulin Pump to rival the iPod

Diabetics the world over will be thankful to the talented individuals of the medical profession that have designed crucial equipment like the blood sugar monitor and diabetes insulin pump. These portable devices enable us to lead active lives, taking the equipment we need to survive with us wherever we wish to go.

Even so, as advances in technology allow us to listen to music, store videos and access the internet on gadgets the size of a matchbox, are we wrong to wish our diabetic equipment was a little smaller, a lot more chic and generally easier to use?

If you agree with the blog of Amy Tendrich, a type 1 diabetic, you won’t believe so.  Amy is tired of being asked about her ‘pager’ or ‘cell phone’ in relation to her diabetes insulin pump and glucose monitor, and has decided to take action. 

Blog writer calls for stylish diabetes insulin pump

Her solution?  To ask the company that brought us the iPod to do something about it.  She writes “It occurred to me that this is never going to change unless we call on the Gods of Consumer Design to champion our cause.”      

Amy decided to use her blog to write an open letter to the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, setting him the challenge of designing a stylish yet practical diabetes insulin pump and blood sugar monitor. 

In her letter she says, Whether blood glucose monitor or insulin pump, thanks to the achievements of medical device companies, we can now live a normal life by constantly monitoring and adjusting our blood sugar levels.

But have you seen these things? They make a Philips GoGear Jukebox HDD1630 MP3 Player look pretty! And it’s not only that: most of these devices are clunky, make weird alarm sounds, are more or less hard to use, and burn quickly through batteries. In other words: their design doesn’t hold a candle to the iPod.”

Steve Jobs is yet to answer this challenge himself, but in the mean time, a San Francisco based design company called Adaptive Path have been quick to rise to the task. On a visit to their offices, Amy was impressed by the detailed research a dedicated team have done into the difficulties and frustrations of living with diabetes.

Prototype diabetes insulin pump already complete

Adaptive Path have now produced a prototype blood glucose monitor, known as the Charmr, which has a striking resemblance to the iPod nano.  They have also designed a diabetes insulin pump that can be worn under a discreet skin coloured patch.

While these devices are not yet in production, many diabetes charities such as JDRF are lending their full support to the project. It is hoped that within months using a diabetes insulin pump and monitor can be a fashion statement rather than an embarrassment. 

Author: Lisa Janse

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