German student Nicole Schmiedel has come up with a design for a trendy-looking wristwatch named COR that contains an innovative ultra-light insulin pump to help people with type 1 diabetes.
Inside COR, a piezo-electric transducer from the German company INVENT absorbs the energy of even the slightest movement of the person who wears it and converts it into power to drive the insulin pump.
‘I got the idea for the insulin pump wristwatch when I watched a film of a little 8-year old girl with diabetes using an insulin pump and saw what she had to go through to get her daily doses of insulin,’ recalled Nicole Schmiedel, an industrial design student at Braunschweig University of Art in Germany.
Many diabetics who need multiple daily insulin injections to control their blood sugar use cumbersome syringes or even bulkier equipment which limits their mobility. Few use insulin pumps or other newer techniques. Schmiedel wanted to design a system to improve the quality of life for diabetics and allow them to lead as normal a life as possible.
Schmiedel’s design looks like a modern wristwatch but contains a pump with sufficient insulin for two to three weeks use by a type-1 diabetic. The pump is attached to the user via a thin tube and a needle inserted under the skin to allow the insulin to flow into the body continuously, substituting conventional syringe injections.
‘COR looks like a watch and not a medical device,’ she added. ‘When the pump is not in operation the menu switches to watch mode and displays the current time and date. It also includes an alarm clock.’
The insulin pump in the COR insulin wristwatch needs around 50-100 mW, which could be provided with just one transducer. However, by using four to five transducers located around the wristband, energy generation from movement in any direction is more efficient. It is also safer, as the insulin pump will continue to operate even if one transducer fails.
The power is stored inside the wristwatch in accumulators, securing a stable electricity supply even through periods of low-energy generation such as sleep.
‘The next step is to find a company to produce COR and market it,’ said Schmiedel.