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Open Artificial Pancreas (OpenAPS)

December 12, 2016

About the project

The project enables the creation of an artificial pancreas using relatively simple and affordable materials. It provides insight on how to manually assemble and setup the device using a compatible insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and a small computer.

“OpenAPS means basic overnight closed loop APS technology is more widely available to anyone with compatible medical devices who is willing to build their own system.”                                                                    

About the inventor

Dana Lewis is a Digital communication specialist with Type 1 Diabetes. She, like many patients with her condition, had a constant blood glucose monitor that alerted her when her glucose levels were too high or too low. Despite the effectiveness of this technology, it is the user who has to administer a direct dose of insulin manually or through the insulin pump when the levels are too low or too high. To remedy to this inconvenience, Dana and her husband Scott Leibrand created an algorithm that calculates the needs for insulin based on a patient’s blood sugar levels.

How does it work?

After designing the algorithm, they upload it into a Raspberry Pi computer, which is commonly use for educational and scientific purposes. The Raspberry Pi was then connected to a continuous glucose monitor via USB and to the insulin pump via wireless technology. The glucose monitor sends blood sugar levels data to the Raspberry Pi and then it orders the insulin pump to increase or decrease the volume of insulin to be injected. 

“If someone takes the time to understand how diabetes care has to work, they can put all the pieces together, says Leibrand. So far, 15 others have followed suit in hacking their own health.”

Source: Popular Science Magazine. “This Couple is Hacking the Insulin Pump”.  Jan-Feb 2016