Featured photo courtesy of Gettysburg College.
The shift lasted until midnight most nights. Hour after hour, Tyler Mitchell worked diligently on a project that had been his dream for as long as he could remember. Every night he worked harder than the last, not because he had to, but because of the great desire to make a difference in the diabetes community, a community which he had been a part of for as long as he could remember.
And so he continued to work on his project, one he hoped could change the face of diabetes forever.
This past summer, Mitchell of the Theta-Pi chapter at Gettysburg College was involved with the prestigious Digital Technology Fellowship through the college. Through this opportunity, Mitchell was able to choose a project to research and execute, all fully funded by the college. Mitchell knew that project had to be creating a cheaper insulin pump.
“I knew right away that was something I really needed to do and try to do,” said Mitchell. “I’ve had a want to build an insulin pump for a really long time.”
Mitchell’s desire to create a more accessible insulin pump began in high school. The now college junior remembers talking with diabetic individuals in his school and community, asking what they might want in an insulin pump. From these conversations, he started to conceptualize what he could actually change, given the proper funding.
“It’s been a want of mine for a really long time, but I’ve never had the means of doing it; it takes some technical knowledge that I didn’t have and skills that I didn’t have,” said Mitchell.
So when he learned of the Digital Technology Fellowship, Mitchell knew he had to seize the chance.
The main goal of Mitchell’s project is to provide normal people with a functioning pump that would break the stigma of expensive medical technology. In the end and the way that Mitchell has built his pump, it will be 9200 dollars cheaper than the pump that is currently on the market.
Mitchell’s pump works as a microcontroller, basically a mini computer. It is capable of running different programs, and with the data that Mitchell can manipulate, the pump would be able to inject insulin.
Looking forward, this kind of pump that Mitchell has created could be revolutionary. Because the pump operates as a small computer, if the government approves universal satellite WiFi (which has been discussed frequently now), this pump could change millions of lives.
Mitchell keeps his project in perspective, though. There is still much to flush out with the pump, but the idea of allowing people across the country and world to live a more normalized life with diabetes is reward enough.
“Helping people has been the motivation for years, and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing,” said Mitchell. “I think it’s pretty evident that my goal behind it wasn’t making a profit, I’m trying to make it as cheap as possible.
“Really the main goal behind it is making the lives of people better just so they can live normal lives. I figured if I could make one thing that could help millions of people, at least financially or in general for their health, that’s huge for me.”
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