You may know the story behind the name of my CGM (continuous glucose monitor): JARVIS. Now I’m building another machine to be part of my diabetes network, and because it will have connections across WiFi and Bluetooth networks it really helps if it has its own network name.

This machine is an OpenAPS rig: a tiny Linux machine which gathers real-time BG data from JARVIS and uses this to control the infusion pump that’s feeding me insulin. Formally it’s a “hybrid closed-loop” (HCL) system. Ideally it will help me by tweaking the pump activity throughout the day, automatically adjusting for highs and lows as I go about my life, working, eating, exercising, and even sleeping. Note that this is not new technology that I’m inventing for myself from scratch: it’s built from technology that’s been developed by people living with Type 1 diabetes, and many thousands of people are already using it around the world. It will be doing the adjustments that I could be do manually, but freeing me to get on with my life. And that’s the purpose of most of my medical technology!
Of course, in my setup JARVIS will still be there keeping watch. Anyway, on to the name.

The rig has a red LED, and I considered the name HAL (referring of course to the intelligent HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey – HAL has a red eye). But I didn’t want it getting any murderous ideas: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” is not what I want to see or hear at any stage!

But there’s another intelligent movie computer who seemed a great match. This is GERTY, from the 2009 movie Moon (where it’s voiced by Kevin Spacey). The GERTY 3000 Robotic Assist is made by Lunar Industries (whose logo is shown here). If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know that there are obvious references to HAL, but at the same time major differences. Unlike HAL, GERTY does everything it can to keep the humans alive. HAL’s a villain, but GERTY is not.

You might be assuming that all my computer names are based on science fiction, but that’s not true. The server, workstation, and laptop I use all have the names of birds (I am a nature photographer after all). But with JARVIS and GERTY the characters just seemed so appropriate that I went with that.

Anyway, my GERTY has been christened and will soon be ready for active duty! I suppose I’m one step closer to being bionic.
And if you haven’t seen the movie Moon, track it down and watch it. I know it’s available in the iTunes store at least.


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