Kids with Type 1 diabetes face the added challenge of juggling homework, extracurricular activities, and family life with daily testing of glucose levels, tracking them on a chart, and understanding the best diet to stay healthy. A new app designed with teenagers in mind aims to make that a little easier.
DiaPETic, designed by interactive designer Emily A. Ellen, is an iPhone and iPod Touch app that allows young users to create a pet avatar that encourages glucose testing and offers tips for managing the disease. Similar to WebKinz and Club Penguin, users gather points that they can redeem for accessories for their pet avatar. "The fun is in 'unlocking' new items, and your avatar can morph into a new animal over time," writes popular diabetes community-based website Diabetes Mine.
On June 13, DiabetesMine announced DiaPETic as one of its top picks for the best new innovations designed to improve the lives of those with diabetes. Other winners of the site's 2011 Design Challenge include a wearable artificial pancreas dubbed Pancreum "that takes the combination of tubeless insulin pumping and continuous glucose monitoring to the next level," according to DiabetesMine. Pancreum is still in early phases of development. A grand prize went to Blob, a portable insulin-delivery device that can be toted in a pocket or worn on a neck chain.
Other apps designed for kids with diabetes include Medtronic MiniMed's Carb Counting with Lenny, a free download on the Apple Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, which features a nutrition guide and interactive games designed to reinforce healthy eating for children with the disease. Also WellDoc, which has created an app for diabetes management, recently teamed up with Sprint and a US organization called Visiting Nurse Service in a two-year pilot program that put app-loaded smartphones into the hands of New York kids with Type 1 diabetes. The app is designed to track the user's lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, and instantly shares that information with a healthcare professional.
Watch a video on DiaPETic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHaa9f1_6kE
See the list of winners at DiabetesMine: http://www.diabetesmine.com/designcontest