August 6, 2008

To Ping Two

I wore a Ping at Friends For Life. Mrs. YDMV and I put them on instead of the T1 kids. Delaney already had on the BatGirl belt and Connor, being a teen was hustled off site.

The Ping is a little bigger than a 12xx or 2020 Animas pump. Not a lot bigger but enough form me to notice being used to handling a 1250. Just about the same size as the CosMore I was also wearing. It, the Ping not the Cosmo, says One Touch on the front where it would say Animas if it were any other model. I noticed that too. It does say Animas on the back.

The pump comes in groovy colors but mine was black. The screen was way easier to read than a 1250. I assume it is the same screen as a 2020. Very nice, I probably could even read it at night at 2:00 am without my reading glasses. The bright screen was the news last year but nobody was talking about it now.

The Ping part is it talks to a new One Touch Ping meter. The meter says One Touch on the front too. It is a remote and can drive the pump. The meter is about the size of a One Touch Ultra Smart, maybe a tad fatter. One Touch moved the food database out of the pump and into the meter.

That means you have to use the meter to use the food database. I don’t see that as a big deal because the food database usability is substantially equivalent to what it has been. Either way, in the pump or in the meter, it isn’t particularly worth the effort to use. It still has cumbersome menus and baby food and beans are still the top two spots for food in the menus system. Dudes think iPod play lists.

The meter does all the bolus calculations and can send it over to the pump. That is a little bit handy. We agreed that at time it would be nice if Delaney was in a dress. Also for parents of little kids so they can remote control the pump.

Sadly the meter has the same monochrome screen a One Touch Ultra Smart has. Same is a word that here means, marginally readable. It was easy to see why nobody was talking about screens. OK it is back lit. Compared to the pump screen (and since you have both with you all the time the comparison is hard to miss) the meter screen is, to be nice, crap.

There are some menu changes in the Ping. Some of the set up screens were more readable, apparently there were in the 2020 too. They added a screen to code the meter to the pump. Strangely when Kimball and I first bloused, at the exact some time, in the quickie training class it crashed my pump. We had to re-code the pump to the meter. The pump person thought it was because we bloused at the same time. I think it is more likely, given that it was real early, that she coded both meter to the same pump before we showed up for the first pump trial of a long day but I don’t know. Didn’t happen again.

So the big question everyone had when the Ping was announced was does it do CGM? The answer - all the wonderful communications stuff the Ping does. In other words Ping doesn’t do CGM.

They said they hope to have a product in late 2009 or 2010. Nobody would answer questions about upgrades. The stock response to, ‘Can the software in the pump, meter or computer application handle the volume of data from a CGM?’ was ‘When we have a CGM product the software available then will then work with CGM data.’

The other big question was how much is a meter if you loose it - Two Hundred Bucks. OUCH!

Neither Kimball nor I was particularly impressed with Ping. The meter screen is a joke compared to the pump’s. The communications are a little cool but not revolutionary and the meter is gonna get lost. While the pumps come in colors nobody was saying anything about meter colors other than ‘Did you see the new Mini colors Blue and Purple!’ J&J is a family of companies. Every big family one member that needs to get with the program, One Touch is The J&J family’s but that is another post.

I wouldn’t upgrade a 2020 to a Ping unless it was free and if the meter is 200 beans I can’t see it being a free upgrade. Likewise neither of the T1 kids were impressed enough to want to try a Ping for any appreciable amount of time.

DexCom says they expect to have CGM integration for the Animas before the Pod. Summer of 2009 is the goal. That could slip with regulatory issues. So that means Ping II is a year maybe a little more away.

Connor will decide what pump he wants when is 4 years are up in April. It is his diabetes, his body, his choice. I suspect he will want to stick with what he knows.

That is OK. Ping is just another pump.

Pumping is about more than infusing insulin. Johnson and Johnson is making a commitment to an expanded definition of type 1 care. The best example is that the best speakers at Friends for Life were J&J’s guys. Hell FFL is a J&J company new too. That matters. It would be nice if the technology was a little better too but diabetes isn’t about technology. It is about life.


  1. Thank you for posting this. We have the 2020 and love it. I didn't think the ping sounded like it would be worth the upgrade cost, and according to the truth here, it's not. Love your blog. SeansMom

  2. Nice break down as always, Bennet. My squirmy little 18 month old pumper still makes me long for remote pumping funtionality at times. I agree, though, that by and large Ping seems to be another addition to the same generation of the a pump is a pump is a pump family. We are also going ahead with pursuit of CGM so hopefully that tool will help us if we are able to get it.

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