Diabetes affects over 29 million people in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing public health problems in the world. You wouldn’t think that anything about diabetes could be anything other than deadly serious, but you just haven’t yet met Diabeto. Shaped like a fat little bird that can nestle comfortably in your hand, Diabeto is lightening the tone of diabetes while still taking blood glucose levels seriously.
One of the key ways to treat diabetes is proper management and testing of blood glucose levels. For many with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, this means multiple daily finger pricks to sample and test blood. But once you have this information, what happens? Tracking this information and using it to help monitor health can be difficult for busy people. Diabeto plugs into your glucose testing kit, downloads the information from your glucose levels, and then uploads that information to a smartphone through an app.
- Blood glucose
- Intake of carbohydrates
- Physical activity
Diabeto can then directly email your doctor and even schedule video consultations with healthcare providers from the comfort of your home (or on the go wherever you are). While video consultations are charged whenever you use them, the app and dedicated Diabeto cloud are both free to use.
This is not necessarily a new idea.
Glooko has a similar concept that can help patients track glucose levels, and Dexcom offer continuous glucose level monitoring, reporting glucose levels up to every five minutes. Both of these options also offer wireless reporting of results to your doctor, and they both track trends and offer easy-to-read graphs and charts. Dexcom even eliminates most (if not all) daily finger pricks in favor of a sensor that sits on the skin under the clothes.
But these options are missing an important and often underestimated factor: design. For some, diabetes means clunky, blocky glucose monitoring tools, but Diabeto changes that. Diabeto is a soft shade of pink and its bird shape is designed to nestle easily into the hand. Unless you know what it is, Diabeto is hard to identify as having anything to do with diabetes or glucose monitoring. This may be a good thing for certain people who are uncomfortable or self-conscious about their diagnosis (like teens and adolescents). The quirky shape may also be less intimidating for young children when they are first diagnosed.
A quirky shape or fun design is not enough if the device itself doesn’t work.
Diabeto’s designers highlight the device’s fast, accurate reporting that is encrypted for the security of health records. Diabeto is compatible with not only Android and iOS platforms but can also be used with an adapter for Accuchek glucometers.
It is also important to understand that this type of design may remove some of the stigma from diabetes. As with many invisible, chronic diseases, there can be a reluctance to discuss health care and management because people just don’t understand. Diabeto offers a non-threatening, lighter way to talk about what it means to monitor glucose levels and why that’s important.
Diabeto was launched as a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and it raised 170% of the funds requested. This additional capital means that it will be able to apply for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. Diabeto hardware will be available in early 2016.
Just as Diabeto works to bring diabetes monitoring into the light to share the experience, others are looking to make glucose testing less invasive and more discreet.
The University of Leeds has developed a new laser sensor that can test for blood glucose levels without the pain, mess, and inconvenience of needles. Professor Gin Jose and a team at the University of Leeds use a small, low-powered laser to sense glucose levels and can also be utilized as a wearable device to continuously monitor glucose levels.
And in more good news, this device could be a more affordable option that can help people better monitor, track, and manage glucose levels, resulting in fewer side effects from diabetes and better overall health. Says Jose:
“As well as being a replacement for finger-prick testing, this technology opens up the potential for people with diabetes to receive continuous readings, meaning they are instantly alerted when intervention is needed. This will allow people to self-regulate and minimise emergency hospital treatment. This wearable device would then be just one step from a product which sends alerts to smart phones or readings directly to doctors, allowing them to profile how a person is managing their diabetes over time.”
For people who are scared of needles or those who need to closely monitor their glucose levels due to a new diagnosis or another complicating factor like pregnancy, this laser-powered device can make managing diabetes easier.
Over 345 million people worldwide struggle with diabetes care and management. These new testing advances and lighter ways to monitor blood glucose levels may help to bring a new awareness to the disease by making treatments more accessible and easier to use.
If you or a loved one has diabetes, what has helped them take control?
Image courtesy of Diabeto.to