August 24, 2007 Many diabetics have lamented for years that devices related to their disease (although life saving) are bulky, uncomfortable and altogether “uncool”. The Charmr is a new concept device that would combine an insulin pump and monitor into one in an effort to give those with diabetes with a much more modern look an added functionality in delivery of treatment.
A project kick-started by Amy Tenderich and undertaken by Adaptive Path, the designers blogged the nine week process of the process of conceptualizing the idea and creating a video outlining the proposed product which is available on YouTube.
Once the product is completed any user of the Charmr will enjoy greater comfort due to a soft outer shell that covers all of the aspects of the device. The concept device is flesh colored meaning it is much more discreet than older style, box-like pumps. A needle and canular will be embedded into the skin in addition to the glucose sensor. An insulin reservoir would be attached to the canular and needle to supply insulin at a rate determined by the user as a result of the testing provided by the glucose sensor.
The Charmr would eliminate the need for test kits and finger pricking to test blood as the user is constantly being monitored. That means that the user would be more aware of their blood sugar levels creating greater safety by reducing the chances of having too high or too low blood glucose levels.
A small stick, not unlike a USB memory device, would act as a monitor and control for the pump. It would be attached to the person in a place for easy access such as around the neck or on a wrist or key chain. The device would communicate wirelessly with the pump (similar in this respect to the Cambridge Consultants device discussed in 2006) and be totally waterproof and suitable for exercise. The control would also act as a means to select the insulin dosage using a sequence of easy to follow screens and even recommends the dosage needed.
The concept control has a slimline, sleek design meaning the user could check their blood glucose levels anywhere and administer a dosage of insulin without drawing attention to themselves. The design is so small and modern it could easily be mistaken for an MP3 player. One of the proposed functions is for it to be able to plug into a computer to provide charts and graphs related to the wearer’s levels. The tech savvy medical device would incorporate a number of different modes with various alarms to provide added protection during sleep and exercise.
According to Dan Saffer, one of the designers of the Charmr, it is still a concept and “only a starting point for any product. Around such topics as battery life, the size of the insulin reservoir, the exact size of the pump/monitor patch, and the different types of wireless technology to tie the system together, we simply had to make our best professional judgement as to what would be reasonably available in several years’ time. And, even after some of the critiques of the concept, I’m still convinced of its feasibility in the near future.” Encouraging words for anyone currently living with diabetes.
For further reading see Bernard's diabetes blog.