Links for 2019-04-29

  • ‘Looping’ Created an Underground Insulin-Pump Market – The Atlantic

    By 2014, the hardware components of a DIY artificial pancreas—a small insulin pump that attaches via thin disposable tubing to the body and a continuous sensor for glucose, or sugar, that slips just under the skin—were available, but it was impossible to connect the two. That’s where the security flaw came in. The hackers realized they could use it to override old Medtronic pumps with their own algorithm that automatically calculates insulin doses based on real-time glucose data. It closed the feedback loop. They shared this code online as OpenAPS, and “looping,” as it’s called, began to catch on. Instead of micromanaging their blood sugar, people with diabetes could offload that work to an algorithm. In addition to OpenAPS, another system called Loop is now available. Dozens, then hundreds, and now thousands of people are experimenting with DIY artificial-pancreas systems—none of which the Food and Drug Administration has officially approved. And they’ve had to track down discontinued Medtronic pumps. It can sometimes take months to find one. Obviously, you can’t just call up Medtronic to order a discontinued pump with a security flaw. “It’s eBay, Craigslist, Facebook. It’s like this underground market for these pumps,”

    (tags: looping insulin diabetes health hardware open-hardware medtronic glucose medicine fda black-market)

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