GlucoBoy Brings Diabetes Monitoring to the…Video Game Market?

GlucoBoy, developed by Minnesota-based Guidance Interactive Healthcare, is a blood glucose meter that can be used in conjunction with a Nintendo Game Boy Advance.

The founder of Guidance, Paul Wessel, was inspired to create Glucoboy after observing that his son with diabetes, “could never find his blood glucose meter but always knew where his Nintendo Game Boy was hiding.”

To access video games, GlucoBoy must be inserted into a Game Boy Advance or into the Game Boy cartridge slot on a Nintendo DS.

Blood glucose test results are converted into Glucose Reward Points that can be used to unlock games, or converted to in game currency. For example, in Knock ‘Em Down (a bowling game included with the device) points can be converted into tokens. In the game, tokens can be spent to purchase items.

While I have to give credit to Wessel for his bold vision, and finding ways to encourage compliance is important for both children and adults, GlucoBoy is out of touch with the market it’s attempting to penetrate.

The games included with the system are, in the words of the generation to whom the device is geared, totally lame.

In the U.S., most children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 14, by this point they’ve already spent years playing the best selling games: Guitar Hero, Halo, Grand Theft Auto and the like.

The platform for which GlucoBoy is designed, Game Boy Advance, is already antiquated. In order to encourage compliance, parents might need to take away any other (better) video games that will compete for a child’s attention.


A screenshot from Grand Theft Auto, a video game against which GlucoBoy will need to compete.

Unless Guidance is able to continually release new games, an arduous task even for video game manufacturers, children may tire of the device. Teens play a video game title for an average of 40 hours according to most industry estimates.

To be fair, GlucoBoy doubles a standalone glucose monitor, and is a good one at that – though not as portable as some. The device is currently available in Australia.

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