Diabetes management is really complex. There is a risk of short-term complications (severe hypoglycemia i.e. too low blood glucose and hyperglycemia ie. too high blood glucose), which can both be fatal. But the long-term complications, which are caused by elevated blood glucose over time, are as scary. Heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness, premature death can all be caused by diabetes. Diabetes also takes a huge amount of time: counting every carbohydrate you eat, calculating insulin doses, changing infusion sites and sensors just needs to be done, no matter how tired or overwhelmed you might feel.
No wonder, there are many who know the mental burden of diabetes far too well. But being stressed about your condition does not help you to take any better care of yourself. Rather, we noticed that humour and positivity did help. Noticing the small wins (“oh, your blood glucose was really good at school today - well done!”) made a big difference. So we wanted to turn that approach into a new way of diabetes management. Giving insights to own future glucose and rewards when succeeding in own care.
This idea turned into Happy Bob, an app that uses gamification and machine learning to turn health data into rewarding and engaging experiences.
Users can follow own blood glucose data in stars, which can be collected when keeping sugar within target. With the stars collected within a day, user can achieve daily star targets and share scores with others. The app also uses personal, past blood glucose data with machine learning to predict the user’s blood glucose up to two hours ahead. The prediction helps to foresee high and low blood sugar before they happen.
Happy Bob is also available in the Snarky Bob mode for those with a more sarcastic sense of humour.
The app is currently available on iPhone and is used by both children and adults. Users tell Happy Bob provides a more fun aspect to their diabetes management and helps them to be more aware of own data. Everyone enjoys collecting stars and getting positive feedback.
It’s still early but the app retention is really good.
Next we plan to add more health data in the experience, to provide a more holistic health management experience and more ways to be rewarded. Our goal is to help users foresee the times when they should pay extra attention on their blood sugar and health, to prevent the risk of complications.
We also want to add ways to use the stars earned, as that’s something many users have been asking for. We believe that by creating a daily, fun habit of good glucose management with Happy Bob, many people with diabetes can have a better life and health.
My three boys. Finland has the world’s highest incidence of type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is on the rise across the globe. With good glucose control most of the complications can be prevented.
If you are interested in testing out the Happy Bob App, have an iPhone and wear a CGM, you can download the app in the App Store.
14th of December 2020