One of the first people I met eight years ago when I entered this diabetes arena was Amy Tenderich, diabetes blogger, advocate and founder of DiabetesMine, a leading informational and community web site for people with diabetes.
Actually I interviewed Amy, and it was my single interview when my tape recorder didn't work. Of course unbeknownst to me until the very end. Luckily, we have much happier memories since.
Amy, who sits squarely on the front lines of diabetes advocacy, began hosting an annual design challenge two years ago, quite to her surprise, when she posted an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. She called for the gurus of consumer design to help revolutionize design of diabetes devices - and they came running. In the months that followed, numerous individuals and organizations came forward with compelling new prototypes, designs, and ideas to make life with diabetes easier.
A tradition was born, and so March 1st launched the 2010 DiabetesMine Design Challenge. All are invited -- patients, parents, startup companies, design and medical students, developers, engineers, pharma R&D pros, and you -- to submit a design concept (devices or web applications) for a consumer-friendly tool that will improve daily life for the millions of people with diabetes.
Three ingenious winners will each receive $7,000 in cash, a support package, access to an expert consult and assistance to help them realize and commercialize their ideas.
The contest is sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), whose senior program officer for the Foundation's Better Chronic Disease Care program, Veenu Aulakh, says CHCF is enthusiastic to help innovators take an active role in improving tools for living with this challenging condition.
Deadline for entries is Friday, April 30th, 2010, at 11:59 P.M. Pacific time and winners will be announced on Friday, June 11th, 2010.
The 2009 DiabetesMine Design Challenge garnered over 150 eye-opening entries - from non-invasive ways to measure glucose (through the skin, eyes, and even via chewing gum) to Smartphone applications to high-tech foot scanners for early detection of diabetic neuropathy. The Grand Prize winner was a system that turns the iPhone into the controller for a combined glucose monitor and insulin pump.
It should be no surprise that a contest that fosters innovation and creativity was born of that same mettle when Amy posted her letter to Steve Jobs. A reminder for, and an invitation to, all of us to look beyond what exists to what might be, and to follow our heart.
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