And pigs can fly

And pigs can fly

Well it looks like at long last Insulet (NASDAQ:PODD) has finally received FDA clearance so that their patients can use the “new” FreeStyle test strip with the OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM). The strange thing here is that the company has not issued a press release or adjusted their web site. Of course Diabetic Investor reached out to the company to see what’s going on here and of course they aren’t talking. One just might think the company would be anxious to make this news public given the issues it has created for their existing customers. Perhaps their waiting to surprise everyone when they present at the 30th Annual  J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco where they can hail this as another momentous achievement for the company.

But Insulet isn’t the only diabetes device company making news these days as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) the makers of Windows 7 and Office is entering the highly competitive world of non-invasive glucose monitoring. According to a story found at ; “Microsoft and the University of Washington are developing an electronic contact lens that can non-invasively monitor and wirelessly report blood sugar levels”.  (No, this is not a joke and we are not making this up, although we wish we were.)

The story goes onto state; “In a promotional video from Microsoft Research, Professor Babak Parviz of the University of Washington summarizes the research. “We’ve been able to put a glucose sensor on a contact lens and show that it can detect glucose at levels that are found in the tear film,” he explains. “Our broader group has actually designed and built small radios that can interface with this glucose sensor and send out information wirelessly.”

Now we hate to throw water on this fire but we have been down this road before and not with much success. Microsoft and the good folks at the University of Washington aren’t the first team who has attempted to measure glucose in the eye nor sadly will they be the last.

Yet there is hope for this team should they finally conquer the Mount Everest of diabetes technology, a truly non-invasive commercially viable non-invasive glucose monitor. Given that the Microsoft and Husky team (for those unfamiliar with UW as they call it in the Pacific Northwest,  their official mascot is a Husky) system has a wireless component built in perhaps it can be integrated into a system being develop by Ford, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and WellDoc.

According to a story that appeared on; “Researchers at Ford have developed a series of in-car health and wellness innovations aimed at monitoring people with chronic illnesses or medical disorders so they can manage their condition while on the go.”

The story goes onto to state; “Working with Medtronic, a leading manufacturer of glucose monitoring devices, Ford researchers have developed a prototype system which allows Ford SYNC to connect via Bluetooth to a Medtronic continuous glucose monitoring device and share glucose levels and trends through audio and a center stack display that provides secondary alerts if levels are too low.

Ford and WellDoc, a recognized leader in the emerging field of mHealth integrated services, have joined forces to integrate in-car accessibility to Welldoc’s comprehensive, cloud-based, solutions for those with diabetes through SYNC services.  Using voice commands, SYNC users can access and update their WellDoc profile to receive real-time patient coaching, behavioral education and specific support based on their historic and current disease information.”

Yep just what the diabetic patient needs to have their car giving them information on their diabetes while their driving. Diabetic Investor can just see how well this whiz bang technology will play out in the real world, where the diabetic driver must not only concentrate on the road, talk on their iPhone but have the added distraction of their car telling them their sugar is too high and you need to take more insulin. We can only imagine the diabetic mom who is schlepping her kids off to school, trying to keep Johnny, Jane and Pip (the family dog) claim in the back seat, with her triple latte extra hot Starbucks in the console, speaking to her neighbor about how Roy (her husband) is having an affair at work when all of a sudden her car shouts out “Hey Mrs. Nelson your sugars are dropping and you need to do something about it before you become hypoglycemic, fall into a diabetic coma and crash your car into a crowd of unsuspecting school children.”

Honestly we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried but it is true which just goes to prove something said long ago, real life is stranger than fiction. Diabetic Investor is always impressed to the lengths diabetes device companies will go to prove their technological prowess and this latest example has Ford, Medtronic and WellDoc on track to become a recipient of the annual Diabetic Investor Corporate Frog Award.

Given the way this year is going and it’s not even a week old, Diabetic Investor may have a record number of award winners this year. Given the popularity of the Corporate Frog awards Diabetic Investor has commissioned a team of designers to come up with a statute that we can proudly present to award winners, after all what would the Oscars be without that tall transgender gold figure held in the award winner’s hands. Who knows the Corporate Frog Awards could become the hottest show in diabetes, a place to see and be seen.

And Pigs can fly – RIBIT!