Train in the morning

Artificial Pancreas & Early Morning

It has been a while without an update on ‘Measuring Less to Feel More’, a project that aims at rethinking the care of diabetes. And many things happened! So let me simply tell you a few of those things.

Since this week, we effectively started to work with Inreda Diabetic, a Dutch company based in the East of The Netherlands. Why? Well, those great guys are developing an ‘Artificial Pancreas’. This is a device which consists of a closed loop system that senses and regulates the amount of glucose in the blood of a diabetic person ‘by itself’: lowering it via insulin infusion, increasing it via glucagon infusion. Several companies are already speaking of an "artificial pancreas", but the device from Inreda is at the moment the only one which deserves to be called so (as it is the only system which uses bi-hormonal infusions). A promising technology.

Glucose meter and artificial pancreas

But of course a technology alone does not make a product. And that is precisely the point where Inreda and Waag met each other. The first phase of our own project ‘Measuring Less to Feel More’ was well received among people with diabetes, as it introduced a new mindset in designing diabetes related devices: not a number, but a light indicates whether the blood sugar level is high, low or balanced. The thought behind it: focusing on the meaning more than on the numbers.

Inreda joined the COMMIT/ project and here we are, collaborating. On top of supporting Inreda with the design of the Pancreas, my main task as designer will be to work on the interaction between the Artificial Pancreas and its users, but with the same philosophy: Measuring Less to Feel More.

It is quite a long way from Amsterdam to Goor (where Inreda is located). Cycling to the station first. A two and a half hours train ride accross the Netherlands from West to East. And another bike ride to their office, around 9:00 am. I just had my first day to join them physically (not via skype or on the phone), so I had to get up pretty early. But once arrived there, I met a team of great people devoted to a common mission (making the Artificial Pancreas a reality)... and who are also enjoy getting up early morning to do so!

In French we have this saying: L’avenir appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt, which translates to something like: 'The future belongs to those who get up early'.