Can a plastic really make medicine more fun for kids?
Yes, it can (with a little help from temporary tattoos). Here’s how.
Many of us, grown-up though we may be, get a little queasy at the sight of a needle. But for kids with diabetes, who have to give themselves insulin injections (and have to do it, and do it right), it’s way harder.
Renata Souza Luque saw that firsthand, watching her 6-year-old nephew, Thomás, struggle with his injections, with holding the needle, with having to remember where he’d injected himself last time. So she made a better way: “Thomy”.
Photo from the James Dyson Award (Thomy was National Runner Up, 2017)
Thomy is made especially for kids. It comes in a bright orange plastic case – the needle (an insulin pen) is hidden inside a bright blue plastic holder, with a big handle sized for a kid’s hand (instead of the same syringe that even we don’t like to see) – it’s got a plastic dial that changes color when it’s time to take the needle out (instead of having to count to ten, a kid keeps his hand on it, and when the color changes, he’s done!).
Watch: A day with THOMY
Oh, and the tattoos? Thomy comes with temporary tattoos that a kid can put on herself – that tell her where to inject the insulin, and remind her where she injected before (each tattoo has a pattern that covers about three days of injections, then it washes off – and you put on a new one).
Nothing high tech. No plugs or batteries. A kid-friendly solution to a medical condition that isn’t so easy for kids (and there are 193,000 kids in the U.S., meaning under age 20, diagnosed with diabetes).
All made possible by plastics made from petrochemicals – inexpensive, durable, easy to make, easy to make colorful, and (with a little thermochromic plastic) easy to make change color as the temperature changes. Well, made possible by plastics, and tattoos.