It's never easy living with a chronic disease--let alone one like diabetes, which constantly challenges patients' willpower and requires self-administered medications.
Amy Tenderich, who writes the blog DiabetesMine.com, is one of 20 million Americans diagnosed with the illness. In a post in April, Tenderich wrote an "Open Letter to Steve Jobs," hoping to appeal to the creative mastermind.
She asked him to come up with an innovative product that would enable diabetics to throw away their bulky gear--blood glucose monitors and insulin pumps--for trendier contraptions that would perform the same functions. Although Tenderich's plea got mixed feedback from readers, most of them agreed that an upgraded design would save millions of diabetics from the embarrassment of bulky, outdated gadgetry.
Although Apple designers have yet to respond to Tenderich's post (as far as we know), another San Francisco Bay Area-based company has. At its UX Week conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, Adaptive Path announced a prototype for a sleeker, more functional blood glucose monitor, called the Charmr (see a video demonstration), and an insulin pump that users can apply directly to their bodies as an adhesive. They researched extensively, interviewing diabetics and consulting with Tenderich, a valuable source of information and a link to the diabetes community.
While the Charmr vaguely resembles an iPod Nano, it has an appeal of its own. The device allows users to monitor the trends of their blood sugar levels, as well as administer insulin via a sweat-proof patch. Not to mention, the device allows for wear on the wrists, or as a keychain or necklace--all of which let the device simply appear to be another mysterious gadget, as opposed to a complex medical apparatus. Furthermore, the Charmr will triple as a USB drive that allows users to view daily trends and patterns of their condition, and other special features.