In 2009 I began working on the Design for Diabetes Challenge with a partner. Neither of us had Diabetes or knew much about it, but we saw a space that was lacking innovation. We had 3 weeks to submit our design.
We needed to get information quickly, and after initial research, we found a number of blogs that told a variety of first hand accounts. We reached out to the bloggers and found that they were knowledgeable, passionate, and wanted their voices to be heard.
Using our first round of qualitative research we created concepts for solution based products that would help life with diabetes. We sent these back ot the bloggers to get their feedback.
The bloggers were generous with feedback, but the most powerful piece of information came from a blogger who was a mother of an 8 year old daughter with diabetes:
This line became our problem statement. After doing more research we found that there was a whole community of "Type 3" diabetics - people who love someone with diabetes - whose lives were being effected, and were overlooked by current market offerings.
We looked to design something that fit seamlessly into both the child and parent's lives. Eventually we moved forward with a bracelet that the child could wear that would read glucose levels through infra-red signals. The bracelet would then transmit those readings to the tablet docked on the parent's night table.
The bracelet is designed to be worn by a child, but still fit aesthetically with the tablet and docking station for the parent.
The below diagram shows the entire product workflow.
The parent is able to sleep through the night while the Sleepwell is tracking the child's glucose levels.
The child sleeps with the bracelet on.
If glucose levels reach dangerous levels, the alarm goes off to wake the parent.
During the day the bracelet can charge on the dock. The parent can also upload the data to share with a doctor.
Although we did not ultimately win the Diabete Mine challenge, our design made its way onto a number of blogs. Over the course of 2 years our received a lot of attention, and eventually Diabetes Mine noticed. In September 2011, they brought us to Stanford University to present our design process and concept product at the Medicine 2.0 conference.
By 2011 our original concept was already a little out-dated: smart phones and tablets were taking over and infra-red glucose reading never worked out. We decided that our presentation needed to address this. The 2011 update used a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) worn on the stomach instead of infrared readings through the wrist to check the blood. The bracelet could be used to transmit the data from the CGM out to the cloud. The parent could get the data through an app on their smart device. These updates made the original tablet and dock unnecessary, and also allowed for tracking all day and night.
Below is the 2011 workflow. The child's data goes out to the cloud where it can be visible by the parent, and also compiled against all of the other data sent to the Sleepwell data base. With the 2011 update, the parent or doctor has live data to compare the child to.
Below a photo of us presenting at Medicine 2.0 at Stanford.