2021/03/11

CarbsCal Dataset Collection Kickoff

People with diabetes, especially Type 1 (T1D), which is also known as insulin dependent diabetes, have a full-time job just by having such disease. They work 24/7 to control their blood sugar level to avoid short- and long-term complications. Literally every moment, they must take critical decisions that range between how much insulin to give themselves to lower some high blood sugar or should they eat some food with carbohydrates to boost up a low sugar level; given their blood sugar value at night, should they sleep safely or should they set up an alarm after 4 hours to avoid going in hypoglycaemia (hypo). 

Among these, the most frequent and tedious activity a T1D patient must do is to precisely “calculate” the carbohydrates content in a meal that they are intending to eat. In fact, when a T1D patient would like eat anything, a “mathematical calculation” should proceed that to know how much carbs in the meal and how much insulin must be injected into their body to maintain normal blood glucose level after eating.

To perform the carbs calculation, one must know: What the food is going to be eaten, is it potato chips, milk, juice, popcorn, ...? How much % of the carb in that type of food, is it 15% 10 per 100 ml, ...? How much grams/liters of weight/volume will be consumed? After calculating the correct carbs value, this value will be fed into the insulin pump system to both automatically calculate and inject the right amount of insulin; or in the case of not using insulin pumps the patient can do an extra work by calculating the amount of insulin and inject it to the body using a syringe or an insulin pen.

Now being that said, “we” think that part of this repetitive task can be easier and less tedious if it can be handled by some artificial intelligence. I say “we” as I have my assistant in this work, who is my 6 years old daughter Leen. I believe that Leen is a restless girl who does not like to spend time on things she does repetitively, she likes to spend more time on learning and interacting with new things. She was diagnosed with T1D last year and this why those calculations became repetitive and boring for her in this year! In our mind, we think of an app that tells us how much carbs in a meal that we are going to eat right now, only from its photo.

Data is an essential part of the task and from where we kickoff our mission. We tried to look if there are available datasets that are suitable for doing such trial, but we could not find one. This why we decided to do it the harder way and collect our own dataset. That would be also helpful to other people who have a similar idea, maybe we can push this line further. We refer to this dataset as CarbsCal for now.

Our status is that we are preparing our setup where we will capture photos. We will continuously post our progress here!

Leen holds a small candy of 5 carbs in her hand.

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