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Nov. 3, 2021

#44 Glowcose, the awesome T1D Gadget with Kevin

#44 Glowcose, the awesome T1D Gadget with Kevin

Does your type 1 diabetes management need a glow up? Well, let me introduce you to Glowcose, quite possibly the coolest type 1 diabetes gadget on the market.

In today's episode I get to talk with Kevin Terry, one of the creators and developers of Glowcose.
 
What is Glowcose?
 
It's a light that connects to Dexcom CGM systems to display whether or not your blood sugars are in range using a variety of colors on the light spectrum. As their Instagram feeds claims, it's like a party... for your blood sugar. 

Listen in as Kevin dives into the Glowcose story, the inspiration behind it and how you can get your hands on one!

WHERE YOU CAN BUY GLOWCOSE: www.glowcose.com
Glowcose on Instagram:
@glowcose

PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
(affiliate link)
Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner (a.k.a. my T1D Bible)

Below you will find a transcription of the episode. This transcription was created by an automated, electronic service that is based off of an uploaded audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some instances it is not correct or is incomplete due to inaudible portions of the recording or due to computer-based transcription errors. The transcriptions should never be treated as an authoritative document or record. Again, nothing that you hear or read on the show's website, in the show notes or in a blog post should be considered medical advice or advice in any way, shape or form. Always consult your physician before making any changes to the way you manage your or someone else’s health. To see a full list and detailed description of The Sugar Mama's Podcast's disclaimers and disclosures, click HERE.

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Transcript

Katie:

This is episode 44 of the sugar mamas podcast. And today I'm talking with Kevin, Terry, Kevin, along with his wife are the founders and owners of a little product called glucose. Glucose is a small lamp, almost like a bedside nightlight that emits different colors of. Depending on what you or your loved one's blood sugar. Is it glows different colors depending on if you are low, if you're in range or if you're high glucose was inspired by Kevin's wife who has had type one diabetes for the past 26 years, Kevin's going to tell us more about the glucose story, how it works certain features and how you can get your hands on one. All right, sit back, relax and enjoy. You're listening to the sugar mamas podcast, a show designed for moms and caregivers of type one diabetics here. You'll find a community of like-minded people who are striving daily to keep their kids safe, happy, and healthy in the ever-changing world of type one. I'm your host and fellow T one D mom, Katie Roseboro. Before we get started. I need you to know that nothing you hear on the sugar mamas podcast should be considered medical advice. Please be safe, be smart, and always consult your physician before making changes to the way you manage type one diabetes. Thanks. Everybody. I am here with Kevin Terry today. And Kevin, I'm going to go ahead and let you introduce yourself to the listeners and tell us your connection to type one diabetes.

Kevin:

Sure. I'm Kevin Terry. I'm one of the co-founders of glucose. We make a light that connects to at the moment, Dexcom, CGMs and displays your current blood blood glucose readings in.

Katie:

I keep them. I just told Kevin, I keep seeing. This little glucose, light pop up all over the place, Instagram and Facebook, and from actual, not just ads, but like actual people that have purchased it and are using it and absolutely loving it. So I contacted him because I want to learn more about it. And I definitely want him to share the information with our listeners. So you, you already said it's a light, it connects to, I guess, at the moment, just Dexcom CGMs, correct?

Kevin:

That's

Katie:

Yeah, and it, and it, whatever the well, I'm gonna let you talk about it. So let's start first with the inspiration behind it. Cause I would love to know just kind of how this idea started.

Kevin:

sure. Yeah, absolutely. It's kind of a bit of a, an odd beginning. It started because I wanted a dog, oddly enough. And within that conversation with my wife we decided to have a kid instead and kind of asked that, you know, that began to progress. And the, the biggest issue, I guess, kind of arose from. Her keeping her blood sugar levels lower than she normally would during pregnancy. And maybe it was that in tandem with kind of like this, you know, I'm, I'm going to be a, a father soon kind of thing that, that really you know, drove up the anxiety, you know, especially when sleeping, it was kind of overnight. So at one point I had. Like alarm set every two hours and I was trying to be discreet about it cause they didn't want her to wake up, you know, get as much rest as she could, but I would still wake up and check my phone every time, then I'd struggle to fall back asleep and yeah. So, so a bit of that later started looking into another way to do it instead of having to reach for my phone, unlock it, find the app. And that kinda got me down the road of maybe making some indicator that could just sit on the table next to us. Which, which later turned into just color. So it's, it'll change colors depending on the ranges you set. So red is low green. It's in range and then kind of falls the Hughes spectrum up to like a pinkish purple for high.

Katie:

Okay.

Kevin:

And that way we were while we would sleep, it would just kind of do its thing. And, you know, if you happen to open your eyes, you could kind of read the room if you will, and just get a feel for where it was. And it helped them. And we just kind of kept continuing to use it for a few years after that. This was my daughter is four now, so, so just about five years ago, then I'd, I'd always have this piece of me in the back, you know, in the back of my mind, that was, I think other people could benefit from this. It was, you know, we still use it. We take it to different places. The, the original prototype And then it wasn't until not a little over a year now. One of the, one of my colleagues at work we'd go to lunch quite often, just chat about it for awhile. And he had a pair of friends that were always interested in new opportunities and trying new things. So we all got together and said, Hey, I think we could do this. I think we could make this a, a product. Making it valuable to a lot of people and see if folks get benefit from it.

Katie:

Yeah. So I feel like the vast majority of the population would have a great idea like this, but then would have zero idea about how to take it from an idea to actually making a product that. Works with what you had in mind. So what is your, what is your background like? I feel like you had to have some tech background or how did you get it. from an idea to just a prototype.

Kevin:

Sure. So, yeah, I'm, I'm an electronics engineer and firmware engineer by, by trade. So software in, in circuit boards or you know, my day to day. So that, that's kind of, that was definitely a, one of the barriers that you would find is trying to develop a product, but, you know, it's what, it's what we did at the time for, for living. We're we're fortunate in that the, the other folks in the group kind of have the other pieces of the puzzle that it takes to, to bring something from an idea into, you know, having a bunch of them.

Katie:

Right. How do you, I'm just curious to know how do you end up kind of producing or mass producing, something like that.

Kevin:

Sure. It's it's it can be really complicated and sometimes it's easier than others. Electronics tends to be a difficult piece of it. You have to, you know, test those, try those generally there's firmware involved. And then have those manufactured that's that's not too outside of the realm. Feasibility for, for most folks, you know, it's, takes a bit of research to get there, but to do is not totally unreasonable. And then finding, you know, getting all of the cab together, actually making this thing and then a manufacturer to make it for you. And then all of that process that begins to be the heaviest piece of it all. And then. I know it is. It's a bit akin to a giant puzzle and you need to find each piece. They're not necessarily in the box for you. You have to go hunt for them.

Katie:

Mm. Yes. That's to me that sounds very complicated. Intimidating. I'm just so impressed with people who can like, have ideas like that and actually get it to market. What, so not counting the four years or so from the prototype to meeting with, you know, your group of friends, but once you guys had that meeting, about how long was it before it was actually for sale?

Kevin:

sure it's funnily enough, we had our first kind of meeting, if you will. It was the very end of February of 2020. So we had one in-person meeting and then. Right up until like the day they were available, a purchase almost everything was done remote. First of all, even though we're in the, in the same town, it was you know, right. As the pandemic hit. So it added this layer of complexity to every piece. But we managed to get through it. We were super, super fortunate in finding a A bunch of folks willing to help us test these. So, so once we had, you know, high fidelity prototypes of it we were able to find probably 25 folks kind of all around the country. They were like, sure, we'd love to give it a go and give some feedback and, and try it out. So kind of through the, probably the eight months, right up to the point where they were available. W we had a handful of people that were using it every day and we check in on them and get feedback and yeah, it was great. We, we owe a lot to those folks.

Katie:

That's awesome. So how does, how does it work exactly? Is there an app that you have to hook it up to other than the Dexcom

Kevin:

No, well, no, there's no app.

Katie:

Okay.

Kevin:

And, and that was kind of one of the key things we really tried to, to get away from. So one of the main goals with glucose in the beginning, cause there was a fair bit of uncertainty about it is, you know, will people like this, you know, is it something that other people find value in? So for us kind of our ethos was to make sure it was accessible to everybody. You know, you could make a very expensive thing that does all of these things. And then a lot of. It wouldn't be accessible to them. So, so we really didn't want to go down that road. And a piece of that was to try to get away from having to develop apps for it. So once he wants you to an iPhone app, then you have to do an Android app and that ecosystem is kind of tough to navigate between the two. So, so yeah, I've read from the getting of is how do we avoid that? And we had been, you, we being my wife and I had been using mate for a fair fair while. And that that's a service should remain.io that connects through Dexcom follow. And, and through that process, you can get your. Blood glucose readings from Dexcom. It's hugely valuable for us in the data world. So all of the charts they give you all of the, the added information was really helpful in kind of helping fine tune things for my wife there. But so, so we use sugar may as a service. So you would create an account with them, set that up and then glucose gets its data from there.

Katie:

Okay. obviously you had to work with sugar mate to make that accessible.

Kevin:

No, it's, it's built right into sugar, man. Yep.

Katie:

Oh, nice. Okay.

Kevin:

they make that accessible for, for I imagined a whole swath of reasons, but I imagine for other apps you know, I. Apple watch apps and things like that. I imagine that's pretty valuable.

Katie:

My technological ignorance, but sugar, mate's got all the info and then it shares it with glucose. I'm just, how does it get from sugar mate to glucose?

Kevin:

Sure. So glucose is oh, wifi connected light. Yep. So, so once you set it up, you tell it where to go. To get that data

Katie:

Yeah.

Kevin:

it does it automatically. So every five minutes it'll go and fetch a new piece of data for you,

Katie:

Okay. So do you, have to have the sugar mate app to use glucose?

Kevin:

not the app necessarily. So, so

Katie:

I'm not kidding. Okay. So I'm an Android user. I know I'm a black, the black sheep of the technology world. But

Kevin:

it's a great question.

Katie:

know I want to love sugar mate, but I can't use sugar mate. Cause I don't have I don't, at least I don't think I can cause I don't have a an iPhone, but anyway, just you go ahead to explain that to me. Cause I'm very curious. Hey guys just want to pop in real quick to tell you about the product feature of the week. This was the first type one management book that I bought after my daughter, Sarah was diagnosed and I absolutely love it. I have read through it two and a half times and refer back to it often when I have a question about type one diabetes management, it is think like a pancreas by. Shiner, I call it my T one D Bible. Look, we all love YouTube videos and podcasts that tell us how to do things. I mean, for heaven sakes, I started one myself. I love them so much, but I like to have something in writing that I can go back to and look at and read when I have questions or concerns, or just need to be reminded of how things work. I highly recommend it. In my opinion. I thought it was easy to read and even better. It was funny. And if I can laugh out loud while reading a book on how to manage type one diabetes, Then it's a winner in my book. No pun intended, but now that I'm thinking about it, pun intended, Hey, have you checked out? Buy me a coffee yet. Now there's a no strings attached way for listeners to support the show, go to www dot, buy me a coffee forward slash sugar mama to donate today. All right. I think I've said enough now back to the show.

Kevin:

you totally can. Um, Yeah, so kind of the Android side, so everything's built as a web app. So if you were to go into a browser

Katie:

Hmm.

Kevin:

or something like that, you can absolutely access it or on your PC or something like that.

Katie:

Okay.

Kevin:

maybe it's just a link instead of an app

Katie:

Okay. So if I can

Kevin:

to that piece. Yeah.

Katie:

all right, so I can get to it on my PC, just not my phone. Okay. I did not know that. I've just been using like decks, you know, Dexcom follow and Dexcom clarity and things like that. But I love how I wonder if it can still call me. Cause that's the feature that I love that people talk about is that sugar mate we'll call them right when they're out of range. I wonder if it can call me through my PC.

Kevin:

Yeah, absolutely. I'm almost positive at can. So, so once you set that up on the, on the web app side, you can set all of those alarms and

Katie:

Okay.

Kevin:

all of that.

Katie:

Okay, good to know. I'm really revealing my, my ignorance here in the in the web space and tech world, but that's okay. I figured out how to do this podcast. So at least have a little bit of, you know

Kevin:

right. And it's fantastic.

Katie:

Yeah, thank you. Okay. So good to know. All right, good to know. We can use it even if we don't have an iPhone. Perfect. And then you already told us how to set it up, so, and then you can set your own ranges as to when the colors will glow for you. Right.

Kevin:

That's right.

Katie:

there a difference between, I'm just thinking of like my Dexcom alarms, is there a difference between the color? It would be for an urgent low versus the color for just like.

Kevin:

Kind of, sorry. It's it's a bit, so what you'll set up for glucose is three numbers. That is kind of your, your perfect number, that that number will correlate, correlate with the greenest of greens and then your low number, which you can set. It doesn't have to be what you set for your Dexcom urgent alarm.

Katie:

nice.

Kevin:

If it is however you can tell the difference between like a, a dark orange and a red. So in, in my experience, we got good enough to where you could look at it and generally estimate you know, blood sugar within three or four points

Katie:

Wow.

Kevin:

just by kind of telling the difference in hue from it. Yeah.

Katie:

And then just close It Doesn't blink or beep or anything like that.

Kevin:

It does not. W we went back and forth about this for quite a while, and it was you know, how do we, again, pair the features down to be. Accessible in a sense that it's not like overwhelming, you know, I can imagine the first time that somebody has a slightly low sugar in their rooms, like red, you know, I can imagine someone would be like, I did not sign up for this. But on the other hand like in your email is S you know, some folks don't want a light while they're sleeping, unless it is. You know, a recent, they should not be currently sleeping. You know, so it's always something we'll, you know, we're always looking for that feedback from, from everybody that uses it, you know, it would be kind of silly for us to think you know, w we know best, and here's the features you really want anything else? You know, not, not valid. We're, we're very much not like that. You know, we, we want to hear how people use it and see that and learn from that and be able to, you know, add those things that add value.

Katie:

Yeah, absolutely. I had asked Kevin about if there was a way to turn it off. So it only glows when you're, you know, when you are low or high or your loved one is low or high. Just because I was thinking about my own husband, who he's, the person that will put an itty-bitty piece of black electrical tape over the light on the iron. That's just like, you know, just like blinking or glowing or the light on like the, whatever the blue Ray player or whatever it is. He just can't handle. Tiniest little amount of light while he's trying to sleep. So I feel like at least right. now we would have to keep it in the living room, which I've seen a lot of people that have posted about it. They have it in their kitchen or the living room, because I mean, you know, you think about how much you're on your phone all day long, like any reason or any excuse that I have not to give. On my phone for the millions of time and a day, I will take it. So even just like, Hey, I'm cooking dinner and I can glance over and see, you know, oh, it's red eye. We need to treat a low or, you know, whatever it might be. I just think that's, I think it's great. And it's pretty, it's like a built-in nightlight. You can put it in your kid's room. Yeah. Yeah.

Kevin:

did we did there is a button on the back. You can change the brightness. We did, we tried to make it really low,

Katie:

Okay.

Kevin:

we also wanted it to be like super bright.

Katie:

Yeah.

Kevin:

you've kind of a bit of range there, but yeah, kind of like on the, on the point you made, is it, know, we, we found the most value in the, in the spaces between. You know, it felt like, you know, occasionally you're, you're just bouncing between alarms and, and to be able to, you know, you don't, you're like having a great morning. Everything's green. Perfect. Then you look over and you see it's, you know, turning blue a little bit. You're like, what's up, what's going on? You know? And, and to be able to catch that before,

Katie:

Yeah,

Kevin:

you know, something changes then go and you know, of course never, never treat yourself. With anything other than the, you know,

Katie:

the

Kevin:

Dexcom itself, you know? Yeah, of course. Oh, we, we do not recommend that. But you know, to be, to be able to have that indication, you know, just while you're in passing, walking through the kitchen or something like that is, is you know, is helpful. It's not yelling at you. It's, it's just there.

Katie:

Yeah, Well, and I think that's a way to, I'm just thinking about, I have two other kids and I mean, my daughter would probably hate that I'm suggesting this because. Well, you know, you know how siblings are sometimes she likes to bicker with her brother. So she would probably not appreciate them being involved with her diabetes management. But you know, she's also not paying attention all the time. So if it's in a room with them while they're watching TV and I'm not there and somebody else notices it, you know, before my alarm goes off, then I think there's just so many benefits to it. It's a really cool product and it's pretty, and it's, it's just very simple and clean. And I think you guys did a great.

Kevin:

you. We really, really appreciate that.

Katie:

Yeah. You're very welcome.

Kevin:

yeah. It's so exciting to see how many folks have, you know, found use for it? You know, we, we, we certainly didn't expect that by any means to, you know, in some of the emails, you know, just so nice. It's yeah. It's, it's great.

Katie:

Yeah. Well, where can people buy it?

Kevin:

Glucose.com.

Katie:

Okay, there you go. That's easy enough for a while. You guys were, I think, sold out of them, right? They were on back order.

Kevin:

We were, yeah, we again, definitely didn't anticipate you know, the, the community taking a liking to it as crazy as quick as they did, but.

Katie:

You working on any other cool gadgets at the moment?

Kevin:

too much just right now I'm just trying to keep, keep the flow of these valuable you know, there's a massive electronic shortage

Katie:

I know.

Kevin:

so we're our best to hedge that one off,

Katie:

Oh my goodness. I didn't even think about that. That's very true. Wow. Well, and I feel like there's an issue with like shipping gridlock right now, too. So people, if you, maybe this would make a great Christmas gift, I'm just saying for yourself, if you're the caregiver of a type one diabetic, or if you're a type one diabetic. So I would go ahead and get ordering one right now, if you would like one, if you want it to be here in time for Christmas, at least, Right. Yeah, no, you're welcome. Well, is there anything else you want to add? Anything else you think the listeners should know before we sign off?

Kevin:

No, just just a huge thank you to tell the folks that have out and. Let us know that you love it, and we always appreciate those things. So thank you,

Katie:

Yeah, no problem. thank you, You have a great day.

Kevin:

you too. Thanks.

Katie:

Welcome. Bye.

Kevin:

Bye.

Katie:

All right, that's it for our show today. Seriously, such a cool product. Go check it out. I will put a link to their website in the show notes, as well as where you can find them on social media. After the episode was over Kevin and I talked for a little bit longer, and honestly I should have just kept recording because he was telling me how it's really been a bonding experience for he and his wife, how after they put their little daughter to bed each. They kind of go out into the shop and work on getting the glucose products, ready to ship. They do not assemble the glucose lights themselves, but they do ship each and every one of them at this time. So he said it's a lot of work, but it's been a lot of fun for them just to spend time with each other. In the evening. I also asked Kevin about whether or not they would be trying to get glucose hooked up with any other CGM systems in the future. And while that hasn't happened, He did confirm that they are constantly working to make that a reality. They're trying to find ways to get Libris and Medtronic CGMs in the loop as well. Also, I was so grateful for the sugar mate information that Kevin shared with me. I was definitely under the impression that you could only use sugar mate, if you had an iPhone. So I'm going to go sit down at my PC and see if I can't get that hooked up. Thanks, Kevin learning something new every day over here. All right. You guys have an absolutely fabulous week and I will chat with you soon. Bye.

Kevin Terry

Co-founder

I'm Kevin Terry, one of the co-founders of Glowcose. I built the first glowcose prototype just over five years ago to help with T1D related anxiety in our home. With the help of some good friends, we're doing our best to make it available to other T1D's and their loved ones.