Student Invention Aims to Improve Control for Diabetics on MDI
Steady Shot, a small plastic device that attaches to pen needles, makes site rotation easier for diabetics on multiple daily injections
As a person living with type 1 diabetes who requires multiple shots of insulin a day, you probably already know the importance of site rotation. But changing where you inject every time you inject can be a challenge when completing the task requires the use of both hands.
That is where a simple but ingenious invention by a student out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison comes in.
Attaching Steady Shot, a small U-shaped plastic device, to the end of an insulin pen allows the user to easily inject with a single hand. And in doing so, it opens up a number of new injection sites to the user.
The Importance of Rotating Injection Sites
Before you can truly understand the brilliance of such a device, you first must understand why site rotation is so important for your diabetes management.
In addition to helping you utilize glucose, insulin also acts as a fat-storage hormone within the body. And, surprisingly, this fact plays a huge role in the importance of site rotation.
When one area of the body is used too frequently to inject insulin, small, fatty lumps can develop under the skin. This condition, known as lipohypertrophy, not only makes injecting painful but can drastically decrease the amount of insulin absorbed into the body. When insulin isn’t utilized fully, it can make maintaining stable blood sugars impossible.
It is estimated that about 65% of insulin users suffer from lipohypertrophy. While this condition is reversible if the affected area is given enough time to heal, this can be difficult to accomplish for many people with diabetes who have limited choices of where to inject.
A Solution for a Common Diabetic Problem
This is where Shawn Michel’s Steady Shot invention comes in.
Michel was a student at UW-Madison when he was given the task of inventing a new product in one of his entrepreneurial classes. The teacher asked the students to focus on solving a problem that was unique to their own lives. As someone who has been living with diabetes since the age of sixteen, Michel immediately looked to his own daily struggles for inspiration.
It didn’t take long for him to come up with the first prototype for a device he hoped might help him and others avoid the painful and aggravating side effects of lipohypertrophy.
His invention showed such promise that it got him accepted into the Discovery to Product program at the University. Here, Michel received mentorships and help in developing Steady Shot into a marketable product.
From Prototype to Market
By allowing the user to inject insulin with just one hand, Steady Shot enables diabetics to inject in areas that were previously impossible to reach such as the back of the arms, the lower back, and the buttocks.
The U-shaped plastic device acts as a second hand by gently pushing the fatty layer up as the needle inserts, similar to the way you would pinch the skin yourself when injecting.
Not only is Steady Shot helpful, but it is also intuitive and easy to use. You simply slide the device over the top of your pen needle, inject, and then remove the device before recapping and removing the used pen needle.
Michel’s invention has come a long way since he developed his first prototype back in college. In fact, Steady Shot is now available for purchase on the product’s webpage, mysteadyshot.com.
The current device fits most insulin pen needles, and Michel plans to soon add additional sizes that will fit the new BD Nano Second Gen, NovoTwist, and Owen Mumford pen needles. He also hopes to have the product available at retail pharmacies someday so more people living with diabetes will have a chance to try it out.
While it may seem like just a little piece of plastic to those who don’t understand the everyday struggles faced by diabetics, Steady Shot has the potential to be a lifesaver for those on multiple daily injections who suffer from the complications brought on by site overuse.