Nightscout: A Diabetes Gadget I'm Now Using
A few days ago, I wrote about A Diabetes Gadget I Might Use: Nightscout and promised that I was going to get going with assembling my Nightscout gadget, and that I’d fill you in on how it goes.
I’m writing this essay while one window on my computer monitor is displaying the output of my Dexcom G4 CGM via Nightscout. (My Dexcom receiver is now hard-wired to an Android smartphone, which has the Nightscout app active. In turn, the smartphone is connected via wi-fi to the Internet and “the cloud.” On the Internet, one program is receiving the BG data, and relaying to another where I have my own URL (one of those www.things that end in .com or .net or…) that allows anyone with any webbrowser to view the BG data – if they know what the URL is. (Sorry, I don’t wish to share the URL I’m using, but it’s at a URL ending “.azurewebsites.net”, as can be seen in the screenshot.)
- Decide to do it.
- You will need
2a) a Dexcom G4 CGM
2b) a compatible smartphone
2c) either working wi-fi access, or a smartphone that’s connected to a phone company. BTW, initially I started with using an Moto-G Android smartphone that’s not currently connected to any phone company, so I was clearly using wi-fi only to make the connection. Later I added my usual smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy SIII, so I have 2 smartphones that can be hooked to my CGM.
2d) a Micro-USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) Adapter (I got mine at Amazon, 2 for $6.99)
2e) a USB Cable 2.0 A Male to Micro B (I got mine at Amazon, 3 for $5.99)
2f) pencil and paper to write down all the cryptic codes you’ll be entering at various websites
2g) some sort of container/box/what-have-you to keep safe the combined phone-CGM-cables Rube Goldberg contraption. You can figure out the container after you get your Nightscout working. You may also want foam padding, and/or tape to hold the components in position.
2h) Optional: a Pebble smartwatch so you can see your BG levels on your wrist. I’m still waiting for mine to be delivered. Price about $100-200, depending if you want the fancy new model or the plain-jane plastic one. Probably even cheaper on eBay.
- Set aside time to work through lots of steps on multiple websites to activate everything (there’s a step-by-step illustrated guide at the Nightscout
website. (It took me an hour or so to get everything working, as somewhere I made a mistake and had to go back and trouble-shoot whatever went wrong. YMMV.)
3a) Configure some gobbledigook stuff at one website on the Internet.
3b) Download and install the Nightscout app to your smartphone, and configure it.
3c) Attach one of the two cables to the CGM, the other one to the smartphone, and the cables to each other.
3d) Configure more gobbledigook stuff on two more websites on the Internet.
3e) Go to any webbrowser, and open up your new website (which is named SOMETHING.azurewebsites.net) and admire your BG levels.
3f) Optional: Tell your spouse or significant other or whoever what the URL is for your new website.
Piece of cake, or PITA, it’s still wondrous to see my BG on my computer screen – and to know that my wife can see the numbers change without asking me how I’m doing…
Bill Quick, M.D., is a physician who is living with diabetes. He is the editor of www.D-is-for-Diabetes.com. Dr. Quick wrote about diabetes for HealthCentral.