Transforming a Furby toy into a multi-modal companion for children with type 1 diabetes

Background and Aims

A teamwork including parents and people involved in the child’s life is often required in the management of diabetes for children with type 1 diabetes. In particular, family has to pay close attention to the child’s blood glucose level and insulin injections and teach the child to manage his/her diabetes.

To assist in this process, we developed a Furby toy-based system to motivate, educate and keep track of the child’s diabetes.


The Furby toy-based system has been designed using personas and different scenarios. The main issues were represented: 1) educational part, that teaches children when to take insulin or eat with parental supervision; 2) remote control of blood glucose by parents/babysitter; 3) ease the psychological discomfort of having diabetes by using the toy to play with his/her friends.


The original Furby’s toy electronics were replaced so it could be controlled wirelessly by a Raspberry Pi 3 (Figure 1).


The implemented solution enables future expandability and modularity. It represents an example of how technological solution can be used to ease daily diabetes challenges in families.