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How to interface a Dexcom Diabetes Monitor to your Home Automation System

Health Monitoring ELK RF Wireless

This tutorial will describe one method of incorporating a Dexcom Diabetes Monitor to your home automation system with the main purpose of providing whole house alerts whenever the monitor detects a diabetic ‘alarm’ condition.
 
Attached Image: monitorbig.jpgAttached Image: dexcom_monitor.jpg Attached Image: sensorfinger.jpg
Background
One of the biggest risk a diabetic has (especially a Type 1 category) is to encounter a quick or unexpected drop in their glucose levels. This can lead to a very dangerous condition known as hypoglycemia.

Continuous glucose monitoring can help immensely and one popular product that performs this task is the Dexcom monitor. This monitor receives glucose data wirelessly from sensors and transmitters worn by the diabetic. The sensor has a very small needle that continuously monitors the blood sugar level and on-board transmitters send the data to a remote control that looks like a large pager.

This remote will then sound notifications via beeps and vibrations whenever it detects an out of bounds reading whose high and low points are set by the user.
The major problem with this unit is the notifications are very faint and do not occur for long periods of time. The notifications in fact are so quiet that people can easily sleep right through them!  Plus there is a condition known as Hypoglycemia Unawareness where the diabetic's body doesn't even know that a dangerous condition exists and can also sleep right through the morning, where they wake up in cold sweats and dangerously out of balance.

This tutorial will describe a monitoring hardware device that will detect the Dexcom’s vibration notifications and provide an interface to your home automation system (via a contact closure) that can then notify family members or the individual that an alarm condition exists.

Methodology
Several years ago I helped my friend build his custom home. We were able to run a lot of wiring throughout the home including several “future use” multi-pair low voltage wiring bundles. I also installed an Elk M1 Gold security/automation system along with all the usual speaker notifications throughout the home for voice announcements.

His daughter is a type one diabetic and uses a Dexcom remote monitoring system to continually keep track of her blood sugar levels. This Dexcom system includes a remote that will monitor sensors attached to her body and will provide alerts as described above.

Attached Image: sensor.jpg


One major problem is this remote will only provide a short ‘beep’ then vibrate during the detection of an alarm. This presented a problem during the night, when his daughter slept, as it would never be loud or long enough to wake her up. Also, he and his wife wanted to know if an alarm occurred during the night so they could insure their daughter’s condition would not worsen.

His wife researched several diabetes forums and websites in search of a product that could somehow ‘attach’ to this Dexcom remote and provide a more substantial notification of a detected alarm (such as a loud sound which would last for several seconds). To her dismay, no product seemed to exist.

One day, when I was making an upgrade to their Elk unit she asked if I could somehow interface this Dexcom remote to their automation system.







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