There's no shortage of crowdfunding campaigns for new diabetes gadgets and products, and not all of them succeed, of course. But if the idea is solid, there may be life after Indiegogo death for some -- such as MedAngel, version 2.0 of a clever insulin-temperature tracking device.
It's a little 2" by 1" gadget that hooks onto your diabetes case or supply bag and sends information about temperature levels to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, brought to us by a Netherlands-based startup. Their MedAngel ONE product officially launched in mid-February 2017, in conjunction with the big Advanced Technologies and Treatments in Diabetes (ATTD) conference in Paris, France.
You may remember its first iteration, the so-called InsulinAngel gadget that we wrote about in early 2015, when a crowdfunding campaign was underway. It was the creation of a Germany-based type 1 named Amin Zayani, who was diagnosed about a decade ago at age 20 and is an inventor and solar energy engineer by trade. He had the idea of creating a temperature-tracker after his refrigerator malfunctioned and froze his insulin, rendering it useless and causing sky high BGs.
Zayani had teamed up with two D-Dads for InsulinAngel, but after the early 2015 crowdfunding campaign failed, they parted ways and he started from scratch.
"What we had with InsulinAngel didn’t go anywhere, unfortunately. Like many young businesses, it just didn’t work out. So MedAngel is an entirely new venture. The best way to describe it is that InsulinAngel was more like scratching my own itch, a hobby to make some of these (prototypes) through the crowdfunding campaign and then go back to my job and my life," he says. "That first attempt wasn’t successful, but my takeaway was that this is a massive problem that impacts many people, even beyond diabetes, and someone has to fix it. We are now a professional business in this for the long-run.”
Instead of crowdfunding with MedAngel, Zayani went through a startup accelerator process in the Netherlands and was able to generate the money and business plan needed to get his re-branded MedAngel started. The business is now based in the Netherlands, rather than Germany.
MedAngel ONE, Simplified
Generally speaking, the device form factor hasn't changed much aside from new colors. It's still a compact little gadget that hangs on your diabetes carrying case or bag where you're insulin's kept and that uses BT monitor temperature via a mobile app. But instead of performing multiple "smart" tasks like before, MedAngel ONE is now solely focused on the temperature feature.
"We decided to focus on one thing and do it right," Zayani says. "The problem this addresses is the uncertainty of not knowing how your insulin is stored right now, and what (temperature) it was in your absence."
During the two-year development process, Zayani says he also learned more about insulin temperature problems across the globe. Early on, he thought that heat was the main issue for storing insulin, but it turns out that getting too cold and freezing was the biggest enemy. With that knowledge, he worked with his team of now five people to help redevelop the MedAngel ONE device.
This also goes beyond diabetes, supporting many other medications that may be temperature-affected, including those for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Crohn’s and other inflammatory and chronic conditions. Hence, another reason for the name change to MedAngel instead of InsulAngel.
Given that this isn’t a medical device but is more of an accessory tool using wireless communication via Bluetooth, it only needed FCC and CE Mark approval, not FDA clearance.
It works pretty simply:
- You just start up the sensor via the app, and input which insulin or medications you're using, how you are storing it and transporting it, and whether the medication is opened or unopened (i.e. a new unused insulin pen versus one in mid-use).
- Then just keep the sensor connected to your case or bag where you keep your insulin or medication.
- All the data is displayed on the mobile app screen and if a particular temperature is approached or exceeded, you get an alert to take action.
- Since temperature numbers can be an abstract concept, the app uses a Green Heart to indicate insulin temp is OK, or a Red or Blue arrow pointing up or down to indicate if the temp is too hot or cold. For more detailed temperature information and to help pinpoint how the changes happened, you can delve into the app's menu for a deeper look.
- Each durable, waterproof sensor is guaranteed to last two years under warranty, and the unit is powered by a replaceable battery that lasts for about 8-9 months depending on use. The sensors can also be stored in cold and hot temps (clearly) and can be cleaned with disinfectant, as well.
Zayani explains how he recently benefited from his own technology when, a couple of weeks ago, he saw his glucose levels skyrocketing and was taking three times the usual amount without any success. He was struggling to determine the cause.
"MedAngel showed that everything was in the green, so I knew I could eliminate temperature issues as a possible reason," he said. "And I know now that it was the start of the flu, but at the time I couldn't be sure it wasn't the insulin storage that had caused a problem. We’re troubleshooting everyday, 24/7, so you are just trying to proceed by elimination and determine what the problem may be."
MedAngel ONE is available globally and within the U.S. via Amazon at the moment, and soon the device will be available in more places online, as well as in the Middle East, Zayani says. The first version is compatible with Android smartphones through the Google Play store, and within the next month, will also be available for iOS devices via the Apple Store. The app is free, and the sensor itself costs $49 for those in the U.S., and 49 Euros in applicable countries.
But before you go and buy one for yourself, we're excited to offer a giveaway of the reborn MedAngel ONE temperature tracker...
A DMProducts Giveaway
Here's how to enter the giveaway:
Just leave a comment below, and be sure to include the codeword "DMProduct" somewhere in your comment so we know you're in it to win it.
Since our comment system requires log-in, you may also email your entry directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, using the subject line "DMProduct."
You have until Friday, April 14, 2017, at 5pm PST to enter.
Please be sure to monitor your Facebook messages or email, as that's how we contact our winners.
Good luck, everyone!
This contest is now closed. Congrats to Dana Rochowicz who was selected as winner, via Random.org.