simpancreas FAQ

A very much needed Frequently Asked Questions post including some very special news for the project.

1. What is simpancreas?

Simpancreas is a software developed by myself over the course of the last 3 years. It is an algorithm that, in essence, emulates some of the processes taking place in my body while it interacts with food, insulin and how my body behaves with changes around the day and night.

I built the algorithm to help automate in a safe and autonomous way insulin dosing decisions.

The algorithm is installed and run within a tiny computer ( Intel Edison ) that is mounted on a board that allows the device to have radio-communication abilities ( Explorer Board ). The electronics are housed in a 3D Printed case that I designed ( Github Link ) and allows me to carry everything with a battery with enough power to run throughout the day.

The finished device, allows the software to communicate with my insulin pump to extract blood glucose data ( Ben West’s code ), run the algorithm ( simpancreas ) with it and then decide how much insulin I should have for this moment of the day.

The work I’ve made with this software has allowed me to maintain blood glucose averages of around 100-110 mg/dl and around 90% of the time I am within a 70-150mg/dl range. The most important part is that it has allowed me to live a much healthier and relaxed life.

None of my work could have been possible without the help of an incredible community described by some as

“The best worst club.”

We share a condition and fight with it in a daily basis making us a community of people working together to change our reality.

We call ourselves the #wearenotwaiting community.

I personally will be in eternal debt with Ben West and Ken Stack for helping me with tools and knowledge to tackle this complex condition and industry surrounding it. Also with all the people that give support to the code repositories, who respond to questions, who guide people into the right direction, who organize meet-ups and events, thank-you-all-mi-casa-es-su-casa.

2. How did this project originate?

Here is a video of a talk I gave at TEDxPitic where I talk about the history behind the project and my motivations ( Video is in Spanish, sorry… )

3. Are you selling it? Can I buy it somewhere? Can you make one for me?


Simpancreas is an experimental project and it should be treated like one.

I am also as desperate as you to make it easily available to everyone but here is a list of reasons why the answer to this question is NO:

a) I don’t want to make money out of something I created not to make money out of.

b) I don’t have the time to spend on the project. I have a “””””normal””””” life ( notice the amount of apostrophes ) and a full-time job and a family I enjoy being around with. The best way I can give to others is making the work as freely available as possible:

Link to the code repositories.

c) Even if I wanted to make money out of it, there are a lot of barriers in the industry. Everything from the cost of the devices required to make something like this work, to the openness of the devices and companies that generate the valuable data, patents, maintenance, technical support, and responsibility for any liabilities.

4. I want one ¿What do I have to do?

Follow the next steps:

a) You need to read, a lot. Start with the basics. The books I always recommend reading are Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Schenier and Sugar Surfing by Stephen W. Ponder

b) Try out some of the tools we’ve built and released to learn about the condition:

c) Become involved with the #wearenotwaiting community. Go to Facebook and Twitter, search for the hashtag #wearenotwaiting, join one or all of the following groups, and PLEASE ask questions:

c) Start with the basics. If you own a medical device that limits your access to the data, ask how you can extract the data. Start learning how to put that data online. The amount of information and experiments you will have to do at this stage, will have you ready for the next one… Closing the Loop.

d) Take a look at GitHub at all the incredible scripts and tools people in the community have built. Most of my code that is part of simpancreas is available at:

5. Why did you decide to publish your work?

As I’ve mentioned on my TEDx talk, publishing my work at this stage is more about the following statement:

It’s inconceivable that a group of people during their spare time and using off-the-shelf components have built systems that are way more advanced than the systems that are commercially available to us.

I don’t believe in blaming, I believe that the conditions in the industry and regulatory bodies and competition have made us end up in this situation.

The reality is that we need to learn to work together and publishing our work connects us and opens the way to solve problems we thought were impossible.

6. What does the future of simpancreas look like?

Very promising. Over the last months, I have become friends with lots of interesting people, some of them doctors and researchers.

Opening my project to them has made me re-think my opinion about the medical industry. I have found an incredible group of people motivated by nothing more than by science and by the need to change things for the benefit of their patients.

After many months and meetings talking about my work and about the other people using my algorithm and their results obtained, we have agreed to the following:

We will start a clinical trial with the algorithm after which we will publish it together with our findings in a more ready-to-use format for the community.

Right now we are working on the plans to make this trial possible and an estimated date of completion will be somewhere around 2018.

Our team members are:

Dr. Maria Elena Romero Ibarguengoitia. Internist and Endocrinologist with Clinical and Research Diabetes fellowship from Joslin Clinic ( Harvard Medical School ). Master in Medical Sciences and approved candidature exam for Medical Science PhD.

Maria Elena and her team won the Glaxco Funsalud Research prize in Mexico. Received a special mention by Harvard Medical school for research projects on Diabetes in vulnerable populations. Mayo Clinic award for research in metabolomics. Multiple publications and papers as well as presentations in international conferences.

One of her professional life goals: Develop better scientific strategies and technologies to achieve a better life with Diabetes.

Dr. Natalia Eloisa de la Garza Hernández Internal Medicine & Endocrinology from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. Diabetes educator with a specialty in micro-infusion pumps since 1997.

Has +20 years of professional practice with the use of insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors and Diabetes related technology. Medical Director of several educational programs for children, adolescents and adults with Diabetes.

Multiple national and international publications in Diabetes and related Endocrinology areas.

Natalia ❤️🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶

Dr. Arnulfo González Cantu Internist and Endocrinologist. Fellowship in Metabolic Bone Disease. President of the North-Eastern chapter of the Mexican Society of Nutrition and Endocrinology 2017.

Award for mineral metabolism original research by the Mexican Society of Nutrition and Endocrinology. Award for Diabetes original research by the Endocrine Society. Multiple national and international publications.

Dr. Oscar Flores Caloca Pediatrist & Endocrinologist. Member of the Mexican Society for Pediatric Endocrinology. Ex-president for the Nuevo León, Mexico Diabetes Association. Director for children summer camps endorsed by the Mexican Diabetes Federation. Multiple national publications.

His area of interest is Diabetes Mellitus as he is a person with Diabetes Mellitus 1A with 28 years of evolution.

Dr. Gabriela Morales González Internist and Endocrinologist. Clinical fellowship in Obesity.

I want to be part of this.

Sure! The best way to contact me is by filling the form below. I will try to answer to all of the requests during my free time. I apologize if I am unable to respond to everyone.