Tech Startup Creates a Teddy Bear to Educate Children with Type 1 Diabetes About Their Disease

By Mohamed Elawad

Tech startup Sproutel recently released Jerry the Bear, an educational toy for children with Type 1 diabetes. Jerry projects the medical conditions of a person with Type 1 diabetes and has to receive the correct care in order for him to continue training for the Olympics.

Aaron Horowitz, the CEO of Sproutel and Jerry’s inventor, grew up with human growth hormone deficiency, a condition that requires frequent injections to treat. While visiting children with Type 1 diabetes at hospitals he saw they had feelings of loneliness similar to the ones he felt as a child. Many of the children pretended the stuffed animals they kept to comfort them also had diabetes. They would prick their fingers to test their blood sugar and cut syringes out of paper to give them insulin injections.

Jerry the Bear has sensors that connect to a central Android operating system and comes with interactive storybooks and games. A large colorful screen in the center of Jerry’s chest allows for a medical readout and space to play games.

Children have to regularly take care of Jerry by feeding him and regulating his insulin by pricking his fingers to monitor his insulin and injecting him with insulin when required. The screen on Jerry’s chest allows owners to access storybook sequences and touch pad games. They educate the user on how Jerry must be taken good care of in order for him to be able to stick to his training regime so he can make the Olympics.

By turning Jerry’s medical condition into a game, Horowitz has provided children with diabetes with what he describes as “consequence-free learning.” If not properly taken care of, Jerry can end up in a virtual hospital. He does get to return to his Olympics training regime after a stern warning.

Jerry is available for $250 with all accessories included. Horowitz intends to create other stuffed animals to educate children with other childhood illnesses.

Source: Mother Nature Network