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



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

  1. Tami October 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    I 100 percent support Jerry the bear and think its amazing! You guys are awesome!!!

  2. Dianna Inkster November 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Jerry could be used to educate young children about their grandparents’ diabetes, too, I imagine or their parents’. Actually, almost everybody I run into could use a chance to care for Jerry the diabetic bear. Maybe, I should buy Jerry and pass it around to all my friends who just plain do not understand my husband’s diabetes and make the most unkind and uninformed remarks. Then, there’s those nurses. . . instead of reading them the riot act i could do something warm and fuzzy and throw them Jerry the bear. Does everybody love Lenny the Medtronics Lion and the trainer who shows us how to insert an enlite sensor or You Tube? Great video from the U.K. The trainer only fails to HOLD the serter in place for 5 seconds before pushing the release button.

  3. Dianna Inkster November 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    Will Diabetes Education Centres be getting Jerry? I’d love to try before I buy. Is there a Paradigm realtime version? Everything is so different if you are using a bg meter sensor and pump compared to just a pump and bg meter or MDI (insulin pen, or syringes and bg meter).

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