Every year, 186,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes. This not only means they face a life-long disease, but children must also quickly adapt to a new lifestyle of restricted foods and daily shots from their parents, which can be confusing and upsetting.
Jerry the Bear is an interactive, mechatronic teddy bear that uses play to teach children with type 1 diabetes how to manage their blood glucose levels, recognize their symptoms, and maintain a healthy diet.
Children learn how to take care of themselves by taking care of Jerry. Using games, positive reinforcement, and real world scenarios, Jerry allows children to learn the skills necessary to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives.
- In 2009, through Design for America, Hannah Chung and the DFA team designed and tested a prototype of Jerry the Bear that included the tasks of feeding, giving insulin shots, and conducting finger-pricks to test blood sugar levels. After testing, they determined the prototype was too complex and needed further refinement.
- In 2010, Aaron Horowitz joined the project and he and Chung continued to develop Jerry the Bear while founding their start-up company, Sproutel.
- In 2012, Sproutel was accepted to the 12-week Betaspring business accelerator program in Providence, Rhode Island. While in the program, Chung and Horowitz refined their prototype, improved the structure of the interactive game, and made the individual lessons simpler.
- Sproutel has started producing a limited number of Jerry the Bear products, now on sale through its website.
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