iPump Nano ?

Could this be the answer to our device design dreams?

Two companies in Switzerland are busy developing a tiny precision pump, that looks, well… iPod-like!


The Nanopump will be “a unique miniaturized insulin-delivery pump… which relies on microfluidic MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System) technology, a breakthrough concept that allows a tiny pump to be mounted on a disposable skin patch to provide continuous insulin infusion.”  According to Debiotech’s web site, this will be the first-ever application of microfluidic MEMS technology in diabetes treatment — enabling a breakthrough in device size and precision insulin dosing.

There’s been a lot of pickup on the press release, but no information indicating when this revolutionary micro-pump might be available…

*sigh*  Looks amazing, but we can only hope they’ll get it to market in less than a decade — by which time the iPod will probably be the size of an earring, ay?


8 Responses

  1. In Search Of Balance
    In Search Of Balance April 22, 2007 at 9:52 pm | | Reply

    It’s nice to see someone thinking about design, but the photos on the Nanopump site don’t show much yet… I wanted to see more!

    Also, the website mentioned that the pump only holds 3ml? Can that be right? That’s 30u of insulin… a bit more than I use in a day, but much less for some folks.

  2. Thomas
    Thomas April 23, 2007 at 1:51 am | | Reply

    Just to correct: 3ml is 300u of insulin (have just checked my Novo Levemir cartridge, which is 3ml).

    Looks a bit like an Omnipod clone to me, but I hope they get to the manufacturing stage.

  3. Scott
    Scott April 23, 2007 at 5:06 am | | Reply

    We have to be realistic about the elements driving the market and whether a design like this would fly. I would guess not.

    Although there are anywhere from 1.1 to 1.7 million Americans with type 1, the type 2 market drives the market — even for devices like insulin pumps which are fueled mainly by type 1 patients, as even if every single type 1 patient wore an insulin pump, there are still almost as many type 2 insulin pump users, and their numbers are growing much more rapidly.

    The problem with a design like this is that reservoir capacity, (which is already at a record low since Medtronic Minimed launched the original Paradigm a number of years ago) is likely to be insufficient for the type 2 audience — and their insurance providers (even if that is Medicare) will balk at having to replace infusion sets daily because the pump runs out of insulin that frequently.

  4. Hannah
    Hannah April 23, 2007 at 7:52 am | | Reply

    This is more directed at Scott’s comment, but I hope they are right in that this thing can hold up to 300 units of insulin. Some of us Type 1′s, myself included, have high requirements for insulin. So we’re an even smaller part of those pumpers who are already overlooked.

  5. Titos
    Titos April 23, 2007 at 11:48 am | | Reply

    There are a number of differences between this “nano”-device and the Omnipod in terms of the underlying technology (physics involved) and therefore accuracy / precision (nanoliter delivery, ie billionth of a liter and close to pancreas secretion rates) and size. It is correct that the cartridge should be able to hold insulin for ~ 5 days for the average user. The basic pump device (disposable and ultra-small) will be made by STMicroelectronics (silicon chip manufacturers and therefore expected to have significantly lower costs than conventional pumps). The company mentions availability for 2008 in selected markets. For the US it would depend on FDA approval.
    One should mention however that design per se is not the driving factor here, but functional and economical improvement through miniaturization. Believe it or not a pump like this is far more robust and cheaper to manufacture than a conventional pump. Obviously the basic design will not be used only for insulin pumps, but for numerous applications both medical and non-medical. Through miniaturization it is then possible to effectively design the problem away from view
    The company mentions

  6. Orlando Pumpers
    Orlando Pumpers April 23, 2007 at 3:28 pm | | Reply

    Wanted: Small, good looking and pumps insulin – Nanopump

    (via DiabetesMine and later Medgadget)
    Debiotech has announced the upcoming Nanopump. Looks like it might be the answer to the designs questions floating around. I know that other companies have given look-sees to a future technology of the same type. …

  7. In Search Of Balance
    In Search Of Balance April 24, 2007 at 12:53 am | | Reply

    Woops, thanks for that correction. 300 units makes much more sense!

  8. Kevin D
    Kevin D April 24, 2007 at 3:36 am | | Reply

    Most likely this pump will be manufactured by Animas. A few years back Animas announced that they were working with Debiotech on a revolutionary pump, therefore one can only assume that the Animas name will be on it.

    I have heard that the pump will possibly also have different cartridge sizes up to 10ml. That’s unknown for sure at this time though.

    Here’s more info on the pump with a better picture of at least one of the original prototype versions.


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