A NEW APPROACH TO BLOOD GLUCOSE MANAGEMENT
October 2011 - February 2012
Shortlisted for the Royal Society of Arts 2012 Award - 'Mobile Medecine' category
Smart Touch is an innovative and convenient blood glucose monitor for insulin dependent diabetics who possess a smartphone. Care Trade is a social enterprise that transforms looking after oneself into care for another human being in need. Smart Touch is one of a potential range of products that links the user to the Care Trade system.
By looking at the current situation of diabetes management in the world, we identified two distinct types of diabetics, with their respective issues. Diabetics in developed countries are facing lifestyle pressures and inconvenience, while diabetics in developing countries have a lack of access to basic healthcare.
The Smart Touch project provides a duel solution with a clever and innovative product on one hand and a social enterprise system on the other to tackle those issues simultaneously.
Diabetics need to check the amount of glucose that is in their blood at least four times a day. Unlike in developing countries, diabetics in developed countries have access to free healthcare. But they still suffer from lifestyle pressure and inconvenience. They have to carry a bulky equipment that they have no natural desire to interact with. Needles, test strip, monitor, and insulin need to be on their person at all time, and these items do not always fit in their pocket.
Smart Touch is a device designed to be integrated into an object that more and more people possess nowadays and carry with them all the time; their smartphone. Smart Touch uses the phones built in camera to analyze a sample of blood.
A precise mechanism integrated in the slim circular disc on the back of the casing enables to take four blood samples, the recommended amount of tests that a diabetic have to do in a day. Combined with our Smart Touch App, Smart Touch can replace the current blood glucose monitor machine, often considered inconvenient.
Instead of being separated into small parts, the needles and the test strip are combined to create replaceable "test needles", cheaper, more ergonomic and more sustainable. Only one finger is needed to activacte the needle lancet and draw a drop of blood. As the test strip is placed on the lancet, ready to be used, the user doesn't have to do anything else with his bloody finger as it was the case before this innovation, than placing the drop on the test strip. The test contains a chemical glucose reagent that has been droped on the paper strip. If there is even the smallest amount of glucose in the blood sample, the reagent will change colour. The strenght of the variation depends proportionnally of the amount of glucose in the blood.
Rotating the disc by 45 degrees, the sample is placed in front of the phone's own camera and scanned to enable the app to process this variation of colour of the chemical glucose reagent by comparing with a reference colour. It gives back to the user an accurate measure of blood glucose.
You then just need to rotate the disc by 45 degrees again to make a new "test needle" pops up the next time you need to make the test.
Once you have used all four needles the cartridge has to be replaced with a fresh one. This can be done at the end of the day when charging the phone. The integration with the smartphone means the data collected is logged in a secure location and the app can show trends and patterns over time.
CARE TRADE. SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SYSTEM
Care Trade products, such as Smart Touch, collect health data on the person in a way that seamlessly integrates with the function of the object and this information is communicated back to them, to encourage better management. By cross-referencing the data readings with other information about that person, a detailed user profile can be built. Care Trade sells these profiles anonymously as they have high monetary value to pharmaceutical industries.
The data can be used to develop better products and, in turn, generate more money for them. Care Trade then uses this income to provide people in developing countries with the aid they so desperately need. Care Trade can deliver the results of this aid back to diabetics in developed countries, so that he can see the difference he is making to diabetics' life in developing countries.
This economically sustainable system supports diabetics from both developed and developing countries. By using Smart Touch, if he chooses to, a diabetic in a developed country can donate aid to a diabetic in a developing country by simply doing more blood tests. By doing something that is good for him, he is also doing something that is good for someone else. This alternative use of data allows products not only to help us lead healthier lives but also to create a system where support is given to the people without.
Smart touch, a Care trade product is the result of a 4 months group project with Ruby Steel, River Ho-Tzi Cheng and Kevin Bickham that was exhibited at the Royal College of Art Work In Progress show in February 2012.
The project has received a James Dyson foundation bursary to be developed further until the Roayl College of Art graduation exam.
Ⓒ 2011 Luc Fusaro
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