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Uniting research disciplines in the fight against diabetes

A software engineer and endocrinologist unite to fight diabetes

Diabetes is a serious condition affecting an individual’s health and wellbeing. At the Charles Perkins Centre an endocrinologist and software engineer specialising in human-computer interaction are working on a solution.

Professor Stephen Twigg is an endocrinologist with a focus on diabetes – a condition that is steadily on the rise both in Australia and worldwide. 

For people with diabetes, balancing blood sugar levels can be a complicated process, which has a serious impact on their general health and wellbeing.

At the Charles Perkins Centre, Professor Twigg and Associate Professor Rafael Calvo, a software engineer specialising in human-computer interaction, are working to alleviate the problem. Together they’ve created an avatar-based app, the Intelligent Diabetes Lifestyle Coach, which will help people with diabetes around the world stick to their treatment programs.

The interface has a human-like ‘personality’ which records and offers feedback on the user’s consistency in following their diabetes treatment, as well as providing goals and plans. It works towards ‘self-efficacy’ – where users no longer need it to coach them with their ongoing diabetes treatment. The app harnesses the kind of user engagement and immediacy normally found in games, but with a medical level of rigour.  

While the app is still a work in progress, its potential is obvious.