Design Winner 2009

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team on October 24, 2018
Design Challenge Winners 2009

A huge congratulations and thank you to all who participated in this open innovation contest! This is truly “crowdsourcing” at its best — asking the community for its brightest ideas on how to improve life with diabetes.

At final toll, we received over 150 entries from participants describing themselves as:

  • Students – in Design, Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering, Biotechnology, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Business
  • Electronic and computer engineers
  • Graphic designers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Medical device design engineers
  • User experience researchers
  • Parents of Type 1 children
  • Children with Type 1
  • Spouses of diabetics
  • Children of Type 2 parents

Participating universities included:

  • UC Berkeley
  • Harvard
  • Stanford
  • MIT
  • USC
  • Northwestern University
  • UC San Diego
  • University of Maryland
  • Iuav University od Venice
  • UNAM (Mexico City’s National University)

We judges spent HOURS reviewing all the uber-creative ideas, and this was no easy task, in great part because the entries were so varied that it often felt like comparing apples to oranges to pineapples and mangos. In other words, we had everything from slick, geometric combo devices to patient mentoring programs, board games, emergency lollipops and shoes that measure your glucose. Wow!

The core principle we tried to keep in mind when selecting our Grand Prize winner was: improving life with diabetes. What new idea would have the most meaningful impact on everyday life with diabetes for the largest possible patient population?


We are proud to announce that the $10,000 Grand Prize winner is something called:

Eric and Samantha are both graduate students at Northwestern University in Illinois, and had the joint vision for a “complete diabetes management system using the phones users already carry… integrating control of glucose meters, insulin pumps and logbooks into a single easy-to-use iPhone interface.

In other words, forget about carrying and using disparate diabetes devices! Why can’t they all be housed in your mobile phone?

We had many iPhone-based entries, but what these two students have designed goes beyond a single logging, data calculation or learning application. Their concept stands out for a number of reasons:

  • we believe the LifeCase & LifeApp solution is a glimpse of the future; they’ve taken the integration of diabetes devices to its fullest conclusion.
  • …meaning the phone acts as a glucose meter, controller for your pump, and data logging application all in one, with built-in capability to share the data across platforms. The case even houses a lancet and test strip storage for a complete, all-in-one solution.
  • as you can see, they’ve developed a great visual prototype of both the phone case and the software application(s).
  • the system could easily be expanded to include continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
  • this system is not limited to the iPhone models, but could be implemented on any smartphone, and truly improves life with diabetes.
  • and the wonderful thing is, the technology to make this system happen is all here and functional. It just needs some visionaries to push for implementation.

The winners will receive $10,000 in cash, a mini-workshop with Health and Wellness experts at the global design and innovation firm IDEO; and one free access ticket to the “innovation incubator” Health 2.0 Conference in October 2009 in San Francisco, CA. (All cash prizes are provided by the non-profit California HealthCare Foundation.)


Again, creativity abounded in this competition. So we judges aimed to single out something we found both innovative and potentially impactful where a good solution is sorely missing. We are proud to award this prize to:

Anyone diagnosed with diabetes as a child can tell you how strange and uncomfortable it feels to have to learn to poke yourself with a needle, and to be that “different kid” at school. Having a stuffed animal friend who also has diabetes is sure to help “normalize” the situation. To date, there are some stuffed bears who wear cloth pumps, but nothing particularly interactive. Jerry, on the other hand, has his own functioning glucose meter, can be given injections with a toy syringe, and can even “eat” glucose tablets and then give feedback on how he feels.

The judges felt that this interactive toy, and the accompanying web play space — something like Webkinz for diabetic kids? — could be an excellent teaching tool for newly diagnosed children. It’s the kind of thing we could see being employed in hospitals around the country.

Design for America is a team of students from Northwestern University, including these individuals:

  • Yuri F. Malina
  • Kushal Amin
  • Hannah Chung
  • Can Arican
  • Katy Mess
  • Rita Huen
  • Sourya Roy
  • Justin Liu
  • Kevin Li
  • Mert Iseri

Congrats to this team! They will receive $5,000 cash, plus a consulting session with IDEO design experts.


We’re pleased to award this prize to:

It’s a relatively simple idea that no one’s done yet: retractable insulin pump tubing. Brilliant! Enough said.

Congrats to Griffin, who wins $2,000 in cash — hopefully an incentive to follow up on his idea.

Again, CONGRATULATIONS and thank you. We hope to see these winning design concepts converted into commercial products that we can all get our hands on real soon!

Winners from Other Years

2011 Winners
See our 2011 winners »
2010 Winners
See our 2010 winners »
Written by the Healthline Editorial Team on October 24, 2018