Student work Wearable: Diabetes monitoring


Diabetics are a huge part of world population today, and urban life makes it more difficult to make healthy choices. This concept imagines a way to diminish the problem by monitoring blood glucose without finger pricking and giving constant feedback based on measurements from interstitial fluid.

Tools and materials: Rhinoceros, conductive copper tape, RGB LEDs, soldering tools, 3D printing



The project started with a lot of research on the disease and with patients and non-patients. The aim was to discover how people perceive diabetes and what kind of obstacles they saw in having life habits that help prevent or at least control the disease.

The concept considers the importance of a trio of conditioners mentioned by BJ Fogg: motivation, capacity and trigger (Read more in "A Behavior Model for Persuasive Design", 2009).

The consequences of insulin deficiency and high glycemia are serious, but they come slowly. In the long term, chronic exposure of the organs to excessive glucose may lead to cardiovascular and neurological diseases, alterations of weight, cancer, blindness, limb amputation or even death.

Constant attention to life habits is very important to avoid these consequences, but the modern lifestyle encourages consumption of over-processed food products. It is often difficult for many people to identify the impact of these products on glycemic index, and when they do identify them, the weight of long term consequences becomes light compared to the immediate pleasure of sugary foods.

Since crystallized habits are difficult to modify, helping form new behavior is an arduous task for designers. Awareness campaigns usually have little immediate effect, and changing minds does not necessarily means changing behavior (NEAL, QUINN and WOOD, 2006).

The users of this product are be young and mature adults who suffer from diabetes of types 1 or 2 and need help controlling their levels of blood glucose.

A wearable accessory in the form of a ring with functions controlled by an app. The ring reacts to changes in blood glucose and gives feedback in form of colors and feeble vibration, helping the person in identifying behaviours and foods that provoked those changes. It also helps prevent dangerous fall or rise of glucose by alerting the user of tendencies.

The accessory is in constant contact with the user, giving subtle and non-invasive feedback every few minutes.

Constant monitoring reduces stress and improves adherence to treatment. The placement of the accessory on the hand keeps the feedback message constantly within the visual field. A visual and haptic stimulus helps make connections between behaviour and consequences.

Blood sugar monitoring devices of today are uncomfortable to use and carry with us, and give cold or incomprehensible feedback. Recent technological advancements in glucose detection allow for continuous monitoring, but the communication of the data obtained from measurements isn't thought in a simple and humanized way.

To test the concept, I built a simple circuit using copper tape, very small RGB LED lights and an arduino to control how the lights would change

I modelled the ring using Rhinoceros and 3D printed a sample. But the external shape of the ring would be chosen by the user from a few models, so that it would really feel like an ordinary device.

The video concept presented in this page was edited using Adobe Premiere and free stock images and videos.