Live interview with Dana Lewis, creator of Do-It-Yourself Pancreas System (#DIYPS)


Diagnosed at age 14 with type 1, Dana Lewis had the usual experience of years of frustration of dealing with diabetes devices that did not communicate with each other. She often imagined a system that would take data from each device, run it through the algorithm that every PWD uses in their head dozens (or hundreds) of times a day, and automate some of the decision-making process. In late 2013, this became a reality after someone shared their code to help pull data off of a CGM in real-time. Dana and her now-husband Scott Leibrand used the CGM data to create a decision-assist system they called #DIYPS, the “Do-It-Yourself Pancreas System”. #DIYPS took CGM data and, with Dana entering information about insulin delivered by her pump and carbohydrate information, processed the data to provide real-time predictions – and alerts – to help her know when to take action. (#DIYPS also had louder alarms to wake Dana up at night, as she sleeps through CGM alarms – this was one of the key drivers of developing a system.)

After a year of using #DIYPS and with collaboration from the wider #wearenotwaiting community, they were able to take the #DIYPS algorithm and “close the loop”, using a raspberry Pi and a Carelink USB stick to automate the process of uploading data, run it through the algorithm, and if needed issue temporary basal rates to the pump…then read the data, and perform the process automatically over and over again. Dana wanted to find a way to make this type of DIY effort available to more people more quickly (and help fill the gap between now and when a commercially available artificial pancreas comes to market in 2017 or 2018). This is how the #OpenAPS movement was born, with a goal to make safe and effective basic Artificial Pancreas System (APS) technology more widely available. #OpenAPS is a number of things: a toolkit to help people communicate with their diabetes devices; a reference design for a closed loop system; and a series of basic documentation for those who are choosing to build their own OpenAPS system.

Dana can be found online at @DanaMLewis, #DIYPS, and #OpenAPS on Twitter. You can read more about the #OpenAPS movement and get links to the documentation at