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NEWS FROM THE FUTURE – Diabetes Glucose Meter Is Your iPhone

Glooko has raised $3.5 million in a new round of funding that will enable it to release new versions of its solution to help people with diabetes monitor their glucose intake more easily.

The round was led by The Social+Capital Partnership along with existing investors. The company’s product is one more example of the “quantified self” trend, where people can gain self-knowledge through quantification of the things they do in life.

About 25 million people live with diabetes in the U.S. People with diabetes can’t properly process sugar their blood because their bodies can’t make enough insulin, which bonds with the sugar and turns it into fat. Patients need to inject themselves with synthetic insulin several times a day to keep their blood sugar under control. If they have too little or too much sugar in their blood, the results can be incapacitating or life threatening.

Many people use glucose meters to monitor their sugar intake. The Glooko MeterSync Cable plugs into most standard self-monitoring blood glucose meters and then syncs the data to a Glooko Logobook app on iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) devices.

This is an interesting approach, make a somewhat universal cable to attach medical devices to iPhones.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. brew-ha-ha says:

    Dude, it’s a serial to USB converter and some software to read tab separated values. Most of the time the meters have a 1/8 stereo jack that is used as rx, tx, and ground for the “ring”. 1-8-n-9600 or so.

    They give away or sell the meter itself just to hook the users on their brand of proprietary strips [1] and then they sell the “computer interface kit” for $60-100 as an add on.

    Keep an eye out for the meters when sold as a loss leader. They’re a great source of lithium coin cells and frequently priced right.

    [1] and Medicaid will pay twice as much as a savvy shopper – spending out of their own wallet – will have to pay.

  2. skm says:

    People, this is not news. I have a glucose meter (for the last year) that has a usb plug to sync it to my (or my doctor’s) computers, also usable as a thumb drive by itself. It is a Bayer Contour model.

    The whole idea of a usb enabled device is not “life-threatening” situations or any kind of medical alert thing either.

    The sole function of this is just makes it easier to keep track of a personal history file on a computing device–without having to type the whole thing in by hand.

    So more than a medical aid, it is a typing aid.

  3. Andrew Dodd says:

    News from the past? Nonstandard proprietary interfaces to glucose meters are nothing new, and an iDevice-only interface is the definition of nonstandard and proprietary.

    Back when I was initially diagnosed with Type I diabetes (8th grade, so over 15 years ago), LifeScan (the J&J division that produces One Touch brand meters) used 9600 baud serial, and would provide complete protocol documentation on request. Also, its connector was fairly standard – RS232 on a 3.5mm TRS connector. In fact, the photos here look almost exactly like the LifeScan connector from two decades ago. $3.5 million for an iOS app to talk to an interface that has existed for nearly two decades???

    My Bayer Glucometer Dex had an undocumented proprietary protocol with an expensive proprietary connector.

    The AccuChek Compact and Compact Plus have IRDA ports – and the Compact appeared on the market just as the last IRDA ports were disappearing. Again – proprietary protocol with expensive software.

    Interestingly enough, the cheapo Target “Up and Up” branded meter I got as a backup for when my insurance company fouls up test strip reorders (strips for that meter are less than half the cost of Accu-Chek’s) has a bog standard MiniUSB port – not sure how well this works though.

    Now, Bluetooth SPP in a glucose meter with a documented protocol with implementations on both Android and iOS – that would at least be “news from the present”.

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