A revolutionary way to monitor blood glucose.
Non-invasive blood glucose monitoring system - Deakin University & Epworth HealthCare
"Help us on our journey to significantly improve the lives of millions of Diabetes sufferers" - Professor Nilmini Wickramasinghe Deakin University & Epworth Healthcare.
A friendly smart phone app that helps people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
In Australia, around 1.7 million people have diabetes. One in four Australian hospital beds is occupied by a person with diabetes and it costs the Australian community approximately $14.6 billion per year.
Currently there is no cure for diabetes. So it's important for diabetics to maintaining a safe blood sugar level. Most people do this by regularly monitoring insulin levels and keeping a diary of their daily activities and food intake.
Measuring blood sugar levels isn't fun
For a lot of diabetics monitoring blood sugar levels involves pricking the skin to draw a small amount of blood and placing that sample on a paper strip. That strip is then fed in to a measuring device and recorded. For type 1 diabetes this can happen 10 times a day. This is often uncomfortable and inconvenient. On top of the physical and psychological discomfort, finger pricking only shows a snapshot in time rather than a continuous reading throughout the day. This means many instances of hyperglycaemia (spikes in blood sugar levels) go undetected.
Groundbreaking new technology
As part of Design Aid 2017 we worked closely with experts from Deakin University and Epworth Healthcare to help prototype a smartphone app that talks to their non-invasive monitoring technology. This technology utilises terahertz beams to measure glucose levels which eliminates the need for finger pricking. Terahertz is a safe non-ionising radiation that can penetrate several millimetres of skin. These sensors can be embedded in wearable accessories such as watches or rings which are then connected and customised to an individual’s mobile phone. This means accurate blood glucose readings can occur anywhere and at any time during the day.
Taking advantage of the smart phone
We prototyped the user flow to help the team visualise and test how someone would sign up to the new monitoring system and how they can view and record their measurements each day. It also helped us uncover a few important insights.
Using push notifications on the phone meant the device only needed to alert people when their insulin levels were too high or too low. As a result people could go about the majority of their day uninterrupted. This would be a huge lifestyle change for most diabetics.
Making it feel like a companion
As well as being easy to set up, the app needed to look and feel friendly. We created a brand identity and tone of voice to help convey this. We wanted the help text to feel conversational, like a friend is speaking to you. And the visual design helps support the simple and non-invasive nature of the system.
The final project let Deakin University fully understand the relationship between their new sensor technology and the role an app can play in monitoring someone's blood glucose levels.
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