Bionic Pancreas is a Wearable Tech Boon for People with Type 1 Diabetes

June 20, 2014, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The world is now increasingly talking about wearable technologies, and manufacturers- big and small – have been readying their devices one after the other. Many have already hit the market to much applause.

The fact is that wearable technology is often considered as entertaining gadgets that are designed to deliver general information.  But it has been proved that they have applications in the medical field also.

Going by what we just stumbled upon, the medical terrain is set to entice the world with a tool that can be used for people with Type 1 diabetes: a bionic pancreas.


A group of researchers from Boston University and Massachusetts general hospital developed the bionic pancreas. The New England Journal of Medicine has published the details behind the bionic pancreas.

The system was tested on 52 subjects, and research using bihormonal bionic pancreas in two short-term studies has found better glycemic control than what is possible with the current standard of care.

The name Bionic Pancreas was given owing to its ability to emulate the physiological function of the pancreas by regulating the amount of insulin and glucagon that is injected into the body.

An iPhone smartphone app used to wirelessly control the algorithms that dictate the subcutaneous injections, and a G4 platinum continuous glucose monitor cradle that is specially designed for the iPhone 4S for communicating with a sensor which is worn by the user, constitute the mechanics of the system.

A small sensor/transmitter unit worn by the person streams Glucose levels into a receiver, and the data is then passed onto an iPhone. The algorithm of the app makes a therapeutic decision to decide whether insulin or glucagon should be used.

Bionic Pancreas2

This is done with two small infusion pumps, every five minutes, as told by the research team member Edward Damiano to the Boston University biomedical Engineering website.

Smartphone-assisted medical devices have already been provided by products like Dario to help the ones with diabetes to keep track of their condition. However, a passive form of monitoring is provided by the bionic pancreas which enables a normal lifestyle for the wearer.

© 2008-2012 - All rights reserved | Privacy Policy