Looping

So you want to know more about DIY closed-loop “artificial pancreas” insulin pump solutions? For now this is just a concise list of references for you to read further.

All these systems rely on some form of CGM so the algorithm can get updates of your blood glucose levels every 5 minutes or so. They use temporary basal rates (TBRs) on your insulin pump to continually tweak the insulin flow to try to keep you within your target range. The detailed ways they deal with carbohydrate and exercise (and other factors) can vary between systems a bit, but that’s the high-level overview.

They do need insulin pumps that can accept TBR commands from a computer: again the options differ for each system.

Choices

There are three main DIY systems: OpenAPS, Loop, and AndroidAPS. There are also some others also being developed, so the list will grow.

OpenAPS

OpenAPS can work with old Medtronic pumps, and uses a “rig” computer to run the loop on. It’s probably the most flexible of the DIY systems available, although the user interface isn’t quite as polished as Loop’s for example. Lots of information can be found at OpenAPS.org. For information on how to build your own, delve into the OpenAPS documentation!

Loop

Loop operates on an iPhone, and uses a RileyLink to interface to the old Medtronic pumps. You download the software onto a Mac and compile it there, installing it to your phone (and optionally Apple Watch). The Loop documentation is the place to go.

AndroidAPS

This needs you to download and compile the Java application for Android. Currently it works with Dana R pumps and Roche/Accu-Chek Spirit Combo pumps. The explanation and instructions are at the AndroidAPS Wiki.

Facebook support groups

These are closed groups: you need to apply to join.

The Looped group is the primary support platform for the Loop and OpenAPS platforms. AndroidAPS users are also welcome, and AndroidAPS also has its own group for specific issues.
For Australians, the group “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Loop, Loop, LOOP!” is populated with fellow locals working on their loops. It provides local camaraderie and supply information, but doesn’t try to replace the global groups.

xDrip+

xDrip+ is a very capable CGM, able to use many sensors including Dexcom G4, G5, G6, and Libre. Especially if you’re going to set it up using Dexcom sensors, the Facebook group xDrip provides lots of support.

Other resources

Tim Street’s “How do I loop?” page.

HAPP is an “open loop” program for Android, where it runs less frequently than the closed-loop systems, and tells you what changes to make to the pump’s basal rate. I used it for a while with an Animas Vibe pump to get my head around what sort of decisions a loop would make.

All BionicWookiee pages tagged with “Looping”.

 

Good luck! I hope you find what you’re looking for!