Tool Boxes for kids with Diabetes for teaching them how to control the disease on distances


The amount of diagnoses of diabetes type 1 in kids has increased considerably in the last few years. And, if not managed well, diabetes can lead to devastating complications.


Koi consists of a series of toolkits that the nurse can prescribe that will help kids with diabetes type 1 by teaching them how to control the illness but also by supporting their emotional needs. These tools can be used at a distance in-between hospital visits and by both the patient as well as the people around them to create a safety net around the kid living with Diabetes type 1.

Project Info

10 weeks, autumn 2021
Professional Product Design
Umeå Institute of Design

The team

Amanda Wallgren
Sam Zandbergen
Rachel Zheng


Core 77 Design awards

Concept development

Co-design User Research





Audiovisual Production

This is Koi Companion, the tool that is meant to answer to the emotional support the kid might need. It also enables a way
for the kid to externalize their disease — by taking care of the Koi Companion they are also taking care of themselves.

When the companion is hugged it reads the glucose sensor, that most people with diabetes are equipped with today, on the kid's arm using
an NFC reader. It then retrieves the kid's values and gives feedback. This enables the kid to take care of the toy while at the same time taking
care of themselves - when the Koi companion’s levels are stable the kid’s will also be.

The feedback of the Koi Companion consists of haptic and visual feedback. The lighting pattern,
as well as the haptic pattern, will change depending on the kid's blood sugar level.

Here you can see the Koi Companion from the nurse side. Using this platform nurses are able to
monitor the interaction between the kid and the Koi Companion.

The Education Board answers to the practical learning that the kid needs. One example is learning how to calculate the amount of insulin
that is needed depending on what they plan to eat.

The Education Board comes with different tokens representing different types of food that are used to give input on the board.
The physical board enables tangible input and digital output through the screen, for the kid to fully engage in the learning.
The kid will be able to engage in general challenges but also personalized ones that are sent out from the nurse– this since everyone’s diabetes is
different and the kid needs to learn about their own.

Example screens from the mobile interface

From the nurse’s perspective, with the super powers, kids can unlock “levels” which is an agreement with the parents on what they trust
their kid to do depending on how they handle their diabetes.

The Nurse Platform is the overarching concept for Koi which keeps everything together. Here the nurse can keep track of the kid's health data while, at the same time, support them through their learning journey at a distance. They can also see how the kids are interacting with their distance tools and how this relates to their blood sugar level.

This project was exhibited at the Dubai Expo 2021 on the Swedish pavilion

Research Process

We kick-started the project by discussing our own personal experiences, followed by a study visit and the revision of articles. Our research led us to do several tangible interviews using the journey mapping technique.

Research Process

Personal Experience

Study visit Storuman


Who we spoke to

Final Result

My contribution
Koi Companion
Education Board
Nurse Platform
Final product gallery
Dubai Expo 2021


Making Off
Design Explorations