One of my favorite things about developing and designing new OpenAPS tools is that if it works for me, it probably will work for someone else, too, and is worth sharing. These little tweaks and hacks add up to improving the real-world lived experience (usability) of living with DIY devices quite a bit…and I’m hoping that continuing to remove that friction enables people with diabetes to live their lives & take action more easily elsewhere, less distracted by diabetes.
So this weekend, Saturday was about enabling easier re-running of the setup scripts to add advanced features more easily in the future.
But Sunday became all about Bluetooth.
Recently, several people have made a concerted effort to create and improve the directions to enable people to connect their OpenAPS rigs to their phones, using Bluetooth.
Without Bluetooth capabilities, when someone left the house or a known wifi network, they would either have to plug in a CGM receiver to get BGs (or have xDrip); or “hotspot” their phone to connect the rig to the Internet. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was something else you had to get into the habit of doing every time you left.
With Bluetooth tethering, you can connect your rig to the phone. And we added the feature so that if you dropped off a wifi network (you left home; or your router at home went down), then your rig automatically established Bluetooth connection and your phone would provide Internet connectivity to your rig. Great!
Making it easier for PWDs with loved ones (spouses/partners/parents/etc.) supporting them
However, today I noticed that because I have both Scott and my phones enabled and configured, sometimes the rigs would grab my phone’s hotspot, and sometimes his (depending on the timing). As the PWD, I would prefer my phone to be the primary phone for Bluetooth, and to only grab Scott’s if mine is out of range/unavailable. And I realized that this will probably be true for most people: kids may sometimes carry a phone, but not always, so it’ll make sense to check for a PWD’s phone first before cycling to try their support network’s phones next.
..so off we went to build that in. Scott also added code that makes it so that if your rig spots an open wifi, but it has a captive portal (meaning it requires passwords or accepting T&C, which the computer can’t automatically do, so it really doesn’t enable Internet access) and wifi ultimately doesn’t work, it will turn off wifi so the Bluetooth can provide connectivity..until the Bluetooth goes away. So it makes it easier for the rig to automatically stay online while you’re going to and from various places that do and don’t have open wifi networks for connectivity.
More connectivity is awesome
I was telling someone the other day why having easier connectivity and remote troubleshooting options is awesome – even as an adult. When a PWD is busy (at school, or on a stage presenting, or at a meeting, or whatever), a loved one can remote in and see what’s going on in the rig and resolve any issues, allowing the PWD to live their life.
That’s something to ask the commercial manufacturers of AP systems as they are in the pipeline to roll out to the broader community of people living with diabetes. For any commercial system you’re considering, ask the manufacturer:
- How will your system enable me to live my life successfully?
- How can see I easily see my data in the ways that I want to see it, on the devices that I want to see it on?
- How will my loved ones be able to see my data?
- How will my loved ones in a different location be able to help troubleshoot when things are going on?
These are the details that make the difference. This is why #WeAreNotWaiting.