Posted by: psilva | October 14, 2014

My Sensored Family


The Important Things

IMG_1360 Lately I’ve been writing a bunch about the Internet of Things or IoT. You know, where everyday objects have software, chips, and sensors to capture data and report back. Household items like refrigerators, toilets and thermostats along with clothing, cars and soon, the entire home will be connected. Many of these devices provide actionable data – or just fun entertainment – so people can make decisions about whatever is being monitored. It can also help save lives.

Recently my daughter became a robot, at least according to her.

My daughter has a rare genetic disorder called HI/HA GDH – Hyperinsulinism/Hyperammonemia Syndrome in the Glutamate Dehydrogenase gene. Say that 3 times fast. Basically, she produces too much insulin (extreme hypoglycemic) and too much ammonia. She gets blood work done every couple months and recently we’ve had some concerning numbers on those reports. While we certainly check her blood multiple times a day, the doctor wanted to get a more precise reading over the course of a few days to determine a plan of action. Enter the sensor.

IMG_1358 The doctor installed a Medtronic Sof-Sensor Glucose meter which measured her blood sugars every 5 minutes and stored it on a chip. They also have models which transmit the BSL to a base for instant readings. Out of the package, the device has a needle almost tented over the sensor. You put it in an apparatus which punches the needle and sensor into the skin. You remove the needle and the sensor stays. You then connect it to a clam shell looking thing which houses the microprocessor. Tape over it, go on with your daily routine and the sensor does the rest. While she had hers in for 3 days, there are some that can be inserted for longer term measurements. After our three days, we pulled it out and retuned it to the doctor. Pulling the tape off her skin hurt more than yanking the sensor out.

They connected the storage to a computer and retrieved the data. We could match the charted times and readings (along with a daily food diary) with the regular meter readings to get a great overall picture of what might be causing some of the recent abnormalities. From that, we got our medical marching orders and so far it seems like things are moving in the right direction. The parental worries have also dwindled now that we know what’s going on. That anxiety is part of the challenge whether you’re a global business or a parent…the data and context to make informed, knowledgeable decisions about a path forward. Sometimes sensors can provide that.

This Internet of Nouns trend is still in the early stages and many of our already connected gadgets do provide human benefits over the typical infotainment. While IoT is certainly interesting and the wave is building, I’m not particularly rushing to get everything or everyone connected like that…except for our micro chipped dog. But in this instance, installing a sensor in my daughter’s side for a few days made all the difference in the world.

And gave us some uncensored peace of mind.

ps

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