Mobile technology will encourage kids to self-monitor their diabetes

By Justin Policarpio, March 8, 2017

What are you doing after you graduate? Many students at McMaster are getting the startup bug, especially Navita Dyal, a recent graduate of the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology. Dyal completed her Master’s in Engineering Design, and now she’s competing globally in InnovatorsRace50 by Capgemini.

InnovatorsRace50 is a global contest that seeks to reward promising early-stage start-ups. There are five themes including Government Technology & Social Enterprises, Financial Technology & Mobility, Consumers & Well-being, Digital Processes & Transformation, and Data & Security. Out of the hundreds of startups who’ve applied, 50 will be shortlisted, and five winners will share in a pool of $250,000 worth of equity-free funding.

This competition is a chance for Dyal, and her mobile app KiDi SMS, and other global startups to put their early-stage business on the global map. The technology, which was developed during Dyal's undergraduate career, helps children manage their diabetes by using gamification to reward the child when they test their blood glucose. When users test their blood glucose three times in a given day, a game is unlocked. The game is only available until midnight; which means the child must continuously log three times per day to access new games. KiDi SMS also provides remote access to the treating physician via text message or video chat. KiDi SMS was studied in the form of a pilot study at McMaster Children’s Hospital and found that 82% of participants logged a minimum of three times a day and 91% of users reported that they felt more motivated to self-manage.

Dyal is a member of McMaster's startup incubator, The Forge, which has two locations across the city of Hamilton; a revitalized furniture building on James Street North, and at McMaster Innovation Park on Longwood Road South. She believes health care is a fundamental human right and that no one life is more valuable than another. This foundational belief was the motivation for founding the non-profit organization Giving Life In The Rural (GLITR) at the age of 17.

"I'm constantly working on ways to strengthen the intersection between technology and medicine," said Dyal.

"As a graduate student in the Masters in Engineering & Product Design program, I am currently working on Walking Analyzing Device (WADE) as the first empirical method for the early detection of Autism."