An Interview with Glance creator Ryan Mason!

For anyone who has a fitbit watch and wants to see their blood sugars on the face, there is an amazing watch face out there called ‘Glance‘.

Here is an interview with the creator, Ryan! Thank you so much for doing this!

Name​: Ryan Mason

Diabetaversary​:March 7, 2007

Are you on an insulin pump? I am. I use a tandem T-slim with control IQ.

What’s your go to when you’re low? My go to is to use sugar tabs which are 4 carbs a tab. This makes it easier to control the low and not go too high.

Do you have a fear of needles?! I did when I was first diagnosed, but with lots of practice, I learned how to handle it. I was also 13 at the time, so that might have had something to do with it.

If you could have anything and not have to inject, what would it be? I really don’t drink juice that much anymore as I always have trouble covering it. So I would say juice. Orange juice, grape juice, any juice.

What’s your favorite type of cake? I love chocolate cake, especially the Wegmans ultimate chocolate cake.

Ryan’s story – how I made Glance.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 13 and that day has never left my memory. I remember the days and months leading up to it, how I always had to go to the bathroom. I could not quench my thirst, I was always tired, and I always had to pee. I just wasn’t myself. I went to the hospital and had my blood sugar tested. I was 404 mg/dl. 404 error, my pancreas was not found (techy joke).

I didn’t know what that meant at the time or the consequences of being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes would have on my life, but I could tell by the expression in the room that this was serious. Later that day, my parents and I went to a larger hospital that could help us get a footing on this and start to understand how I could manage this beast.

Fast forward through high school, and all the hormones associated with puberty and diabetes. With the help of my parents and others, I was able to control my blood sugar and keep a good A1C. It was in college where I first heard about the DIY diabetes community. I was immediately drawn to the creativity and support that this community provided, and their slogan was “All we ask is that you pay it forward because #wearenotwaiting.” This really resonated with me, but at the time, I was unable to do much. I was just there to learn.

Glance’s journey started here, even though I didn’t know it yet. I started to learn about wearable tech and what was out there. I ended up setting up a Pebble and the Skyline watch face that let me see my BG on my wrist. It was a start, and it was very helpful. It didn’t last too long though because of issues with hardware, so I shelved the idea for a few years and finished up college. Then the day came where Pebble shut down and was bought out by Fitbit. I was so excited to hear about Fitbit acquiring Pebble and the developer SDK they were making. I immediately remembered what I had shelved all those years ago and knew I wanted to try my hand at “paying it forward.” This is when the first line of code was written for Glance.

The first iteration of Glance was called “API-Watchface” and looked like this.

I even still have this code available on Github

After some time and a lot of development, Glance started to take place and started to resemble the app that people use today. This was when Glance got its name. I was laying in bed looking at what I made and lifted my arm to get a glance at my readings… yep, Glance. Glance was official now.

The next day I created the new repo that has the current codebase.

I have been iterating on Glance ever since, and it has evolved a lot over the years. This is what Glance looks like today:

I made Glance to help others and to help pay it forward to all the people who have helped me get this far. I would not have been able to create Glance without the help of others, and I am beyond thankful for those people. Glance has been in development since 2017, has over 2,002,040 lines of code, and has a community around it that embodies the same slogan as the CGM in the cloud community does: pay it forward.

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