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The Open Source Pancreas

Yea, you read that right.

Dana Lewis has diabetes, lived alone, and is a heavy sleeper. She was worried about sleeping through her blood sugar monitor alarm if it went off in the middle of the night, so she built herself an artificial pancreas using open source code and off the shelf medical supplies.

She used the shared code successfully to get the data off her own device, then sent it to the cloud and back to her phone to make louder alarms. At first, that’s all she wanted.

Then, Lewis thought “it would be nice for somebody else to see my data since I live alone.” She programmed a Web interface to share the data with her boyfriend and, if he didn’t respond, with her mother in Huntsville…

This was a real, meaningful life change, but the couple kept going. “I was giving the system data, and we figured out how to use that data and actually predict in the future what was going to happen,” she said. “So, not only was I getting alarms saying, hey, right now you need to do something, but in an hour, your blood sugar is going to be low, but if you do a little bit of something now, you won’t be stopped in your tracks later.”

Here’s the craziest thing: she built something that doesn’t actually exist yet. Medical companies don’t sell what she invented. She made something new, and gives away all of her code for free.

Go read the whole thing right now. It’s fascinating.

Also, share your work. Give away code. Help others. You never know what cool stuff people will make with it!