The X.GLU project strives to provide novel hardware and software instruments to allow diabetic patients to cope with the disease better. Diabetes is going to be one of the biggest medical challenges of the 21st century. There are currently 415 million diabetics in the world today and in 2040, the estimated number is 642 million. Diabetes mellitus is a non-curable disease with extremely large prevalence. The key for successful treatment, which means relieving the symptoms and slowing down the progression, is correct medication and discipline. Our solution consists of an innovative blood glucose meter prototype, cloud-based application and smartphone application that form a closed system.
Our blood glucose monitoring solution can be used by the entire population. At the beginning, we, however, decided to focus on Type 1 diabetic children. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, correct medication and discipline is the key for successful treatment. Thus, our solution is designed with the intention to effectively become a guide during the first years of presence of the illness in a diabetic child´s life.
The vision of X.GLU is to change the ingrained design of glucose meter solutions that are often bulky and not connected to the cloud. We have patented a novel concept where the glucose meter has a credit-card form factor and can be customized. From the hardware point of view, the glucose meter can be both battery-less or equipped with a battery, and powered using the NFC technology. The device is fully controlled from a smartphone and does not have any buttons and display. Thus, we can use a cheap 8-bit microcontroller to control the device. The device is extremely thin - about 4 millimeters or 0.16 inches.
Our direct competitors are smartphone-enabled glucose meters. One main group are meters with wireless connectivity - Bluetooth and/or NFC. These are most often manufactured as classic glucose meters with added wireless functionality. We can compete with these solutions in terms of the manufacturing costs and form factor. Another group are USB and 3.5 mm jack-equipped (used for transmitting data) glucose meters. We can compete with these glucose meters in terms of the manufacturing costs (if the glucose meter is equipped with a display and buttons) and form factor. Also, our solution does not have any connectors that could wear out either in the device or smartphone, except for the test strip connector.
Our solution offers an easy way to manage the data connected with diabetes treatment and its synchronization with a cloud. All this is performed with a special emphasis on security. When the data is stored in the cloud, it can be displayed by emergency contacts or a physician. Emergency contacts (e.g. parents) are able to check the frequency of blood glucose measurements, last location of their kids in a case of hyper/hypoglycemia and other important features.
As we have mentioned above, successful treatment of diabetes depends on the user’s discipline; that is why the integration of gamification into the application is in place not only for our main target group - children, but generally for all users. We plan to implement several gamification elements, such as collecting points and badges for specific daily, weekly and long-term challenges. Our business model is based on subscription packages. Together with lancets and test strips, we are going to introduce physical rewards (i.e. toys) to young diabetics if they manage the disease correctly, based on in-app games. Positive motivation in diabetic children and newly diagnosed diabetics is crucial. Not only does it improve the quality of their life but it also transfers the financial burden on the healthcare services connected with the diseases caused by diabetes mellitus.
Marek Novak, 22, is pursuing a master’s degree in radio-electronics and optoelectronics at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT). He has been working in TSE spol. s.r.o., a Czech automotive and medical hardware development and manufacturing company, for three years. During his long-term internship he has been responsible for a wide variety of development activities, from rapid prototyping and medical hardware and software design to making documentation required for the certification of medical devices. He has been involved in projects concerning infant incubators, blue light phototherapy lamps and assistive technologies for the elderly.
Since 2015 he has been active in basic and applied research as well. In 2015, he joined a group of experts from the FNKV hospital in Prague and launched long-term cooperation in novel implantable medical devices (intended for basic research in animal models and pre-clinical studies) development. In 2016, he presented the results of his research activities during the 2016 International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. He presented it as an oral paper as well as during one of the plenary sessions as a panelist. The X.GLU project is one of the derivatives of this research.
Marek is an author of several patents and scientific papers, mainly focused on medical hardware design.
Tomas Pikous is a graduate student of Software Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He focuses on the designing of SW architectures, software development (Java, Android, Node.js), both SQL and NoSQL databases etc. He actively participates in the CVUT Media Lab (a technological and start-up accelerator) as a student researcher, where he has worked on the projects focused on IoT security together with the leading provider of security systems in the Czech Republic. He gained experience with hardware and communication technologies, such as LoRaWAN and others, in these projects. Another important part of these projects was to implement effective security measures for both sensor-smartphone and smartphone-cloud data transfer. Apart from his studies and research activities, he also works as a freelance software developer and software architect.
Like Tomas, Barbora Suchanova is pursuing her master’s degree in Software Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. Her professional area is currently the design and development of mobile applications for Windows Phone and Android platform mainly. In the past two years Barbora developed several successful applications with the focus on health and education. Moreover, she takes part (and drills her presentation skills) with her apps in the national contest AppParade every year.
Besides her studies, Barbora has been working as an associate software engineer in Red Hat for half a year. This summer she improved her design skills in a selective summer school of innovation and technological design at École de technologie supérieure in Montréal.
As for her volunteering activities, she is one of the founders and an active member of the university non-profit organization called wITches. Its goal is to encourage and teach computer science and engineering generally to children between the ages of 9 and 13. Therefore, her great expertise in teaching and interaction with the children taught her to be a good UX designer even for the millennial generation.