Background

At a type 1 diabetes event I attended last year I had a chance conversation with a couple of people from the UK team of Ypsomed, mylife Diabetes care. Ypsomed is a Switzerland based insulin pump (and infusion set) company. The main thing that struck me about this conversation was how engaged they were in asking questions about my crazy antics running the 40 mile ultra-marathon across Scotland and how my DIY approach to “closed-looping” using Android APS was working for me.

I was really interested to hear that Ypsomed had recently partnered with JDRF to develop what they called an “Open-Protocol Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) System”. Essentially they were looking to evolve their YpsoPump (insulin pump) into a next generation pump that will support Bluetooth communication with third-party smartphone-based apps and other devices. Now this was pretty big news for me as I’m already using a third-party smartphone app called Android APS to control my insulin pump as a “hybrid closed-loop” setup. The main issue I’ve had getting this system set up previously was access to an “in-warranty” insulin pump that would allow third party communications from the Android APS app on my Android smartphone.

The full media release of the Ypsomed / JDRF partnership makes really interesting reading and is worth checking out.

The result of the conversation with the Ypsomed UK team was that I was invited to a small get-together of T1D bloggers, this meant we could give direct feedback about the YpsoPump and the future plans for it. I met some really incredible people with type 1 diabetes at the bloggers event and it was great to catch up with Roddy Riddle having met him previously at the Animas Sports weekend a few years ago. I’d urge anyone to search Instagram and twitter for these fantastic people and give their blogs a read too:

The awesome T1D bloggers and Ypsomed crew

The YpsoPump

In terms of transparency, I’ve not received any payment or reward from Ypsomed so my thoughts on the YpsoPump really are my own independent views. I also had to hand back the YpsoPump after spending a day with it.

My first impressions of the YpsoPump were mainly being amazed at just how incredibly small and lightweight it is! It really is tiny when comparing it to my old Animas Vibe pump and my out of warranty Accu-Chek Combo pump. It is similar in weight to the Dana R/RS pumps and marginally smaller, particularly being thinner. In my opinion, in terms of physical appearance the YpsoPump is a sleeker option to the Dana pumps as it is thinner and doesn’t have the tubing poking directly out of the top of the pump. It uses a small twist-and-click adapter to attach the insulin tubing to the pump and there is the option of a 1.6ml pre-filled insulin cartridge or a 1.6ml self-filled reservoir. This is just over half the amount of insulin that the Dana pumps hold although 1.6ml of insulin is around 2 – 3 days-worth for me so an insulin cartridge change would coincide with a cannula set change. That means less wasted insulin, thumbs-up!

Hands on the YpsoPump

The pump is woken-up by tapping a discrete recessed button on the top and when this happens a bold touch-screen interface appears. The touch-screen is very responsive and there’s no waiting around for a response once you’ve tapped or swiped the screen. Ypsomed have opted for a simple icon based menu that is universal and easy to learn regardless of language.

Dana RS (left) and YpsoPump (right)

My own view is that as a future closed-loop option it will offer a fantastic alternative to the only current “in-warranty” closed-loop option of the Dana R/RS pump. If I’m honest I really wish that the YpsoPump was closed-loop capable right now, it has the hardware in terms of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) capability and it is super-discrete in terms of size, shape and weight. The fact Ypsomed are working with JDRF and actively seeking the input from people with type 1 diabetes can only be a good thing longer term.

I was also pretty impressed with the smartphone app that received blood glucose readings via Bluetooth from the tiny “Unio Neva” BG meter.

It’s worth checking out the full specs of the Ypsomed YpsoPump.

What Next?

In terms Ypsomed’s development of the YpsoPump, next up is continuing to develop the smartphone app and integrating CGM into it, then it’s a case of completing the work with JDRF to allow those third-party smartphone apps to communicate with the pump (absolute Holy Grail for me!). Ultimately, regardless of whether you’re using the pump as a closed-loop option, the end product will be an insulin pump that can be controlled using your smartphone.

That touchscreen display!

Would I choose the YpsoPump if it were available to me right now? If I wasn’t closed-looping it would be my absolute number one choice due to its small size, shape and weight! I mean, this pump has won a Red Dot design award. But I am closed-looping so I look forward to it being a future closed-loop option, particularly due to the partnership with JDRF and how active Ypsomed have been in gaining input from people with type 1 diabetes.

In terms of timescales, no definite answers just yet so we’ll just have to watch this space for now.

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Written by Craig Waugh

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