Diabetic? Cloud-Connected Ford Could Someday Save Your Life

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Ford’s Microsoft-powered Sync system offers voice-activated control of music and navigation services, but the technology will be expanding to include health and wellness services in the not-too-distant future. On a rainy October day outside MIT’s Media Lab, I hopped in a cloud-connected Ford Explorer  for a demonstration by Ford’s Group and Senior Technical Leader for Vehicle Design and Infotronics, K. Venkatesh Prasad.

(MORE: Ford Turns Cars Into App Platforms)

Using the in-dash Sync system, Prasad dialed up Ford’s health and wellness services to show off blood glucose management features for diabetics. As someone who’s been diabetic for almost 30 years myself, I was immediately intrigued. Before long, a robotic female voice answered:

Car: “Services: What service do you want?”

Prasad: “Glucose.”

Car: “Good morning. Is that you, Joe?”

Prasad: “Yes.”

Car: “Great. I noticed that you had a blood glucose of 81 milligrams per deciliter at 6:32am today. Since this is close to being too low for you, I want to make sure you’re safe to drive. Have you rechecked your blood glucose since 6:32?”

Prasad: “No.”

Car: “Have you had your breakfast yet?”

Prasad: “No.”

Car: “Okay. So since you have taken your diabetes medications which can and should lower your blood glucose, and have not had anything to eat, it is important for you to recheck your blood glucose now. Do you have your glucose meter with you?”

Prasad: “Yes.”

Car: “Great. Check your glucose and tell me the result when you have it.”

Prasad: “One hundred and thirty.”

Car: “I heard you say one hundred-thirty. Is that right?”

Prasad: “Yes.”

Car: “Joe, this is great. You checked your blood glucose. It had dropped more, and because you checked, you have prevented it from going too low. Do you have glucose tabs in the car?”

Prasad: “No.”

Car: “Not a problem, but you do want to eat some fast-acting carbs. Examples are three ounces of juice, three to five hard candies—things like that. To be on the safe side, please recheck again in another 30 minutes. Your mobile phone is programmed to remind you if you are not in the car. Have a nice drive.”

Here’s a video of the above exchange:

This particular diabetes management feature found in Ford’s upcoming health and wellness services package leverages technology from WellDoc, a company that positions itself as an integrator of clinical, behavioral and motivational applications to support chronic disease management. So you’d have an account set up with WellDoc that you’d use to enter your blood sugar levels, and Ford’s system would have access to that information along with customized dietary information for treating hypoglycemic episodes.

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