May 7, 2010

Bayer DIDGET: First Look

The DIDGET has landed. Here's a first pass quick look and some initial impressions. As we get some experience with it I will share more details.

First things first -  Disclosure. Bayer was kind enough to send a meter for review at no charge to my personal pocketbook. Schwing! They also sent me an extra can of strips. Bonus Schwing! I made no promises other than to speak my mind and to make full disclosure that they gave me the stuff if I wrote about it. So there ya go.

DIDGET a meter and a Nintendo game. Like the old SNL bit it a floor wax and a dessert topping. Well except DIDGET is for real. I have been interested in this meter since it was announced. I think outside the box is cool and this thing is clearly different.

DIDGET seems to be trying to reach T1 kids where they live. It says, “You’re kids, you like games here’s a care tool that tries to be fun.” A significantly different approach than, “... or you will die.” Now don’t get me wrong there is a place for, “... or you will die.” Specifically in the Top Gear Botswana special. The relevant part of that starts about 30 seconds into this:

We love top gear and the specials are just brilliant. I suggest you buy them in iTunes as the quality is way better than YouTube and this is quality TV. Watch them with your kids. It is way more fun than diabetes.

OK back to the what is inside the box, Here is the DIDGET unpacking sequence:

You have a bright kid friendly box.

It unfolds 

Inside is a pack of documentation including user guides for both the meter and game in english and spanish.

It a lot of stuff when it all gets unpacked. 

At about this point my soon to be a teen started paying attention and was psyched that it was a meter. Somehow that hadn’t sunk in.

Possibly I don’t read the user guides that well but this is the first meter that I recall having an issue with the direction it gets held to test. Anyone else ever read that in a meter manual? I feel the need to test upside down and backwards just to see if it makes any difference. This is the point of the book Delaney and I added "... or you will die" to every sentence we read in the users guide and it got to be quite funny.

Over at CWD some parents have expressed concern that the DIDGET rewards in range numbers and because that is indirectly punishing numbers that is a problem. Their point being numbers are numbers not good or bad. So what does DIDGET do?

Well we just unpacked it so the jury is still out. The book says it does give slightly higher game points for in range numbers than out of range numbers (or you will die.) More significantly the game rewards multiple test in a day up to 4 test. It also rewards consecutive days of testing with bonus points if user tests at least 3 times a day (or you will die.) Here is the section of the meter manual on game points.

We haven't been using it enough to see what the game / meter interaction is. Not that I will let a little thing like not having a clue keep me from opining on the matter. I think parental actions have a bigger effect than any game will on punishing numbers. I include passive aggressive signals in that and I am guilty of far worse than a few points in a game, like projecting instead of joking "or you will die."

More importantly (not than you will die) I think the goal, as I read it, is to support having fun and build a habit of regular testing with positive feed back. Again I think parental signals are more important than any game but I think giving families tools that reinforce the idea of positive feed back for good habits is brilliant.

On the plain old meter side of things DIDGET has two levels of settings: basic and advanced. Advanced gives you the option of before and after meal marking, after meal reminders and the above mentioned personal settings for HI and LO.

So far very good.