Virtual pet app encourages diabetes management

By Brian Dolan

DiabetesMine-Grand-Prize-WinnerThis week popular diabetes blog and community, DiabetesMine announced the winners of its annual 2011 DiabetesMine Design Challenge. Started in 2008, the Design Challenge tasks participants with finding creative new ways to improve the lives of those with diabetes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of this year's winners developed an iPhone/iPad app.

The three grand prize winners, who each received $7,000 cash plus free consulting from IDEO Design health and wellness experts are as follows:

Pancreum, by Gil dePaula, is the most "futuristic" of the three, an "artificial pancreas" that combines tubeless insulin pumping and continuous glucose monitoring with a glucagon-delivering agent that works as an antidote to low blood sugar. The computer aspect of the system is a Bluetooth-enabled CoreMD, designed to “create a flexible, open platform, and common architecture design that would allow for medical devices to be more affordable than what is available in the market today.” Pancreum is already in the early stages of development.

Blob, by Luciana Urruty, is a portable insulin-delivery device that is small enough to be carried in a pocket or worn on a neck-chain. The device includes a coolant for inhabitants of warmer climates. It is seen as an efficient way to transport insulin around.

DiaPETic, by Emily A. Ellen, is an iPhone/iPod Touch application designed for teenage girls to help put a personal touch on glucose level management. The application allows users to creates a pet avatar that interacts with them to encourage glucose testing and suggest strategies for control. Successful monitoring of levels grants users points that can be redeemed for “accessories” for their avatar.

Check out our coverage of the 2009 winner, the LifeCase & LifeApp.