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Open AccessArticle

The Diabetes Assistant: A Smartphone-Based System for Real-Time Control of Blood Glucose

Center for Diabetes Technology, University of Virginia, PO Box 400888, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Montpellier University Hospital, Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Institute of Functional Genomics, CNRS UMR 5203, INSERM U661, University of Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2014, 3(4), 609-623;
Received: 9 March 2014 / Revised: 2 October 2014 / Accepted: 14 October 2014 / Published: 14 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Electronics)
PDF [5801 KB, uploaded 14 November 2014]


Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed and insulin must be injected daily to enable the body to metabolize glucose. Standard therapy for T1DM involves self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) several times daily with a blood glucose meter and injecting insulin via a syringe, pen or insulin pump. An “Artificial Pancreas” (AP) is a closed-loop control system that uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), an insulin pump and an internal algorithm to automatically manage insulin infusion to keep the subject’s blood glucose within a desired range. Although no fully closed-loop AP systems are currently commercially available there are intense academic and commercial efforts to produce safe and effective AP systems. In this paper we present the Diabetes Assistant (DiAs), an ultraportable AP research platform designed to enable home studies of Closed Loop Control (CLC) of blood glucose in subjects with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. DiAs consists of an Android (Google Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA) smartphone equipped with communication, control and user interface software wirelessly connected to a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump. The software consists of a network of mobile applications with well-defined Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) running atop an enhanced version of Android with non-essential elements removed. CLC and safety applications receive real-time data from the CGM and pump, estimate the patient’s metabolic state and risk of hypo- and hyperglycemia, adjust the insulin infusion rate, raise alarms as needed and transmit de-identified data to a secure remote server. Some applications may be replaced by researchers wishing to conduct outpatient ambulatory studies of novel Closed Loop Control, Safety or User Interface modules. Over the past three years the DiAs platform has been used in a series of AP clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the European Union [email protected] project. Results of clinical trials using DiAs indicate that a smartphone with targeted operating system modifications and appropriate system software can be successfully used in outpatient clinical trials of FDA Class III medical devices such as Artificial Pancreas. View Full-Text
Keywords: Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM); artificial pancreas (AP); closed loop control (CLC); Diabetes Assistant (DiAs); Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM); artificial pancreas (AP); closed loop control (CLC); Diabetes Assistant (DiAs); Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Keith-Hynes, P.; Mize, B.; Robert, A.; Place, J. The Diabetes Assistant: A Smartphone-Based System for Real-Time Control of Blood Glucose. Electronics 2014, 3, 609-623.

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