Announcing Sugar Pixel

I'm excited to finally announce a project I've been working on for quite some time. It's almost at a finished functional testing phase, so it's time to share the details!

Like all of my projects, I set out to solve a need that I had and saw others having as well. Phones are great for very detailed apps and I solved many alert issues with Loop Follow. But phones still present other issues such as forgetting to charge, too small to read without your glasses or contacts at night, and the volume is too easy to accidentally change or silence. But the 2 biggest issues I'm working to solve are sleeping through alerts and snoozing in your sleep.

With SugarPixel, I set out to solve these and other issues that I had and that I have heard from others. I started by working on the display itself. We are building a custom 8x32 LED matrix that is small enough for a nightstand, but large enough to read from across the room. I have been testing multiple display modes for different uses which you can see in the photos.

The displays and data downloading have been tested with Nightscout for quite some time now. So I then turned my attention to the alerts. I see too many posts or polls about sleeping through alerts. While Loop Follow solved this for parents and caregivers, this hasn't been a great solution for the actual CGM user because the Dexcom app still is lacking in the alert realm. I am testing some exciting things with alerts!

  • Randomized sound generator: Science has a term called habituation. T1D's and caregivers are going to simply call it alert fatigue. It's that point where your brain tunes out the alert sounds because you are so accustomed to hearing them. I have been focusing a lot on this solution that will create entirely unique and random alert sounds everytime the alert goes off. My goal is to ensure that sleeping through an alert because your brain tuned it out is a thing of the past.
  • Static volume: There is no volume switch or knob on SugarPixel. The volume can only be set or changed via the web config. This eliminates the problems with accidentally forgetting to change the volume back after you have turned it down.
  • Vibration alerts: I have been testing a vibration motor similar to what is in cell phones. So far, it works great under the pillow. My goal is to have it in a small pu k that can be under the pillow, attached to the bed frame, or even attached as a watch strap.

I continue to be surprised by the high number of posts I come across with multiple T1D's in the same household. So I started this project from the beginning knowing we needed to support 2 users on the display and the alerts. When an alert triggers, the display will also highlight which user the alert is from.

I have been testing currently with Nightscout data but am working on direct Dexcom data  as well and hope to have that ready by the time I have the product available.

Stay tuned as I'll be starting to post videos of our testing as we progress towards a finished product for this! Please also signup for the mailing list at the bottom of this page to receive updates. As we get closer, we will be making the decision to offer pre-orders for the production launch or possibly launch via Kickstarter.

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