People with diabetes have to test their blood glucose levels multiple times a day so that they know how much insulin they need to inject. Patients insert test strips into a blood glucose meter and apply a tiny finger-prick blood sample. When people are first diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, they need to quickly master information about the disease and self-management. They also need to learn and practice the necessary skills in the blood sampling procedure. Failure to follow sanitary procedures including hand washing while using the test strips can contaminate the test results, with potentially fatal results.

After her initial shock from her T1D diagnosis in 2018, a 14-year old eighth-grader from Maine invented a new way to minimize the chance of blood glucose test strip contamination. Morgan LaRochelle devised a blood glucose test strip dispenser. The dispenser places the test strip directly into the blood glucose meter so the patient doesn’t touch the strip.

Koch Industries subsequently gave La Rochelle a Young Visioneer Award in a program that recognizes young inventors. La Rochelle was one of four Young Visioneers, each of whom won an all-expenses-paid trip to visit a relevant Koch research and development center. When she visited Philips-Medsize, a design and product development facility, La Rochelle had an opportunity to present her invention and took part in a personalized industrial design and human factors brainstorming session.

LaRochelle’s next steps include applying for a patent on her device, learning more about moving it into production, and then bringing the Blood Glucose Dispenser to market.