Glucosio helps diabetics track blood sugar

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A new presciption for open source health care

One of the top-rated apps in the Google Play Store right now when you search for glucose tracker is Glucosio. The app is designed to track blood glucose test results, and after installing it to test it out, I found it easy and simple to use, with not a lot of settings to deal with to get straight to using it.

In just a few short months since its release in October 2015, Glucosio has received great ratings and reviews and over a thousand downloads. Glucosio was also recently listed on Black Duck's list of Open Source Rookies of the Year, which honors innovative, sophisticated projects in open source.

The Glucosio team is headed up by Benjamin Kerensa, of Mozilla, who has an aggressive, unparalleled vision for the product. I chatted with him about the project and where it goes from here.

What's been the biggest challenge in getting things off the ground and running?

The biggest challenge has been trying to balance the amount of work we have across a rather small team. While we have had a large amount of contributors in just under a year, much of the heavy lifting has been performed by a handful of volunteer contributors known as our core team. Our core contributors have made an ongoing commitment to lead a specific areas of the project. Things were really tough for the first few months—the volume of work was like a fire hose. But as we now have several releases under our belt, each one gets easier. We continue to see new contributors, and so more people are taking on work, helping us balanace the load.

How did you establish your core team? And, how has the project attracted developers from all over the world?

Most of the core team knew either Paolo Rotolo or me. So, when I pitched the idea, we told our mutual friends about it and it grew from there via word of mouth. Once our core team was organized, we attracted new and more contributors via social media, news articles, and word of mouth.

What's the next level for Glucosio? The next big achievement for the team?

The next step is to launch our research API, iOS app, and smart assistant. These next three milestones will improve the users' experience and better support diabetes research.

What kind of support are you getting and why?

We've received hosting, software, and services donations from a great group of companies. The idea of using open source to help millions of people suffering with diabetes has surely been an important aspect of the project for our supporters. Everyone we talk to knows someone with diabetes. Support for hosting, software, and services donations allows us to focus on improving the app and project quicker and more efficiently.

What are your 1 year goals? 5 year goals?

In one year, we hope to have our research API fully launched for diabetes researchers to be able to access anonymous data from users who opt-in to support research. And, we hope to have our iOS app launched and at full parity with our Android app. Plus, we hope to be well on our way to half a million users.

While those are ambitious goals, we believe that because we are one of the first open source apps for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and we have broad language support, we will grow quickly.

In five years, we hope to have a desktop and web app, and potentially other apps as part of our project that align with our vision of healing people with diabetes and moving diabetes research forward. I also see us having a sustainable project with healthy funding through grants and donations that will keep us going for the longterm.

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Ruth Holloway has been a system administrator and software developer for a long, long time, getting her professional start on a VAX 11/780, way back when. She spent a lot of her career (so far) serving the technology needs of libraries, and has been a contributor since 2008 to the Koha open source library automation suite. Ruth is currently a Perl developer and project lead at Clearbuilt.

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