Charmr: Insulin Pump Meets Good Design?
A few days ago an interesting article on Ars Technica about the Charmr, an insulin pump meant to be well designed, turned up in my feeds. Being diabetic myself, I admit I was intrigued so I took a look at the kinds of things Charmr is meant to be capable of.
The first, and most obvious, is that the bulk has been greatly reduced. Currently insulin pumps
are quite bulky but I always figured this was due to technological constraints, not lack of designer ingenuity. The second thing, which actually contributes to the first, is that the unit has been split into two pieces – one attached to the wearer for collecting/analysing blood samples and injecting insulin, the other worn as a necklace or bracelet for displaying results to the wearer and allowing them to administer insulin doses. These parts are linked via wireless communication.
The concept does sound kind of cool. I think one thing to look at is whether or not something like Bluetooth could be used to transmit blood-sugar levels to a third-party device, such as a PC, for storage and possible further analysis. For instance, I like to use a personal database for storing my results, rather than the old fashioned dead-tree version. If the results are being stored electronically then I see no reason why they should need to be manually re-entered.
I honestly have never enjoyed the idea of using a pump since I don't want to have this thing attached to me all the time. I doubt my feelings will change on the matter (I do prefer the idea of a good sub-dermal system) but I'm willing to keep an open mind. If someone can actually make a device like this – instead of presenting concept shots at usability conferences – then I'm all for it. I also like that some people have started to look at the design of items such as this.