Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 273–286 | Cite as

Integrating glucometers and digital photography as experience capture tools to enhance patient understanding and communication of diabetes self-management practices

  • Brian K. Smith
  • Jeana Frost
  • Meltem Albayrak
  • Rajneesh Sudhakar
Original Article


Glucometers measure the accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream and are essential for avoiding health complications related to diabetes. Despite their value as tools to record and present physiological data, they lack the ability to capture the behaviors that cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels, activities that ultimately need to be understood and managed in order to maintain good health. In this paper, we describe an intervention that introduces digital photography into diabetes self-management routines to augment glucometer data and facilitate the sharing of experiences that affect long-term health. Two studies of the approach are presented to illustrate the ways that diabetics use visualizations of past activities to reflect on their health. We also discuss design suggestions for augmented memory systems based on our findings, focusing on ways to enhance learning with repositories of past experiences collected automatically and/or manually.


Experience capture and sharing Ubiquitous computing Digital photography Information visualization Diabetes and health management 



This work was supported in part by a National Science Foundation grant (REC-0302169) to the first author, MIT Media Laboratory’s information: organized research consortium, and glucometer donations from LifeScan, Inc. We would also like to acknowledge Shelly Leaf, R.N. for allowing us to conduct our initial studies in her diabetes education classroom, Dr. Hector Sobrino for teaching us the intricacies of diabetes, and Omalara Layeni for assisting with interviews in the second study. We also thank our anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful critiques and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian K. Smith
    • 1
  • Jeana Frost
    • 2
  • Meltem Albayrak
    • 3
  • Rajneesh Sudhakar
    • 4
  1. 1.Colleges of Information Sciences & Technology and EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Medical Information Systems UnitBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.College of EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.Princeton ConsultantsPrincetonUSA

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