Vancouver Looping Meet Up and Build Party

Attention YT1 members interested in building your own artificial pancreas! 

This is a Vancouver-area build party for people who want to build an OpenAPS or Loop system to help manage their diabetes. Existing Loopers are welcome to drop in and contribute their expertise and/or update their rigs.

Please register on Eventbrite as space is limited.

To get the most out of the session, you will need to come prepared to build your system and that means sourcing the correct parts. Please see below for more information on sourcing parts.


The NightScout Foundation came out of the #wearenotwaiting movement, which was spearheaded by a bunch of savvy people affected by Diabetes who began to hack existing diabetes technology to make it more responsive to the actual needs of people who live with diabetes. (The movement began with people taking information on CGMs, and figuring out how to upload it to the cloud, so it could be downloaded on other devices like smart phones and digital watches months ahead of any comparable commercial system).

The NightScout Foundation raises awareness, funds hack-a-thons (where developers get together), and even has scholarships for young people interested in this kind of technology. You can learn more about the NightScout Foundation here: and general information on NightScout-related things in the CGM in the Cloud group:

If you are interested in “looping” (building your own closed-loop artificial pancreas system), we strongly recommend that you begin by joining the Looped group on Facebook: This is where many of the people who use artificial pancreas systems hang out, where new information is shared, and it is a great place to ask questions. (Before you ask questions though, please carefully read the docs below and search the Looped group by key word — chances are other people have already asked the same question in the past!):


There are three kinds of DIY artificial pancreas systems currently in use:


For people who are not all that technically inclined this is the easiest system to build and use. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow and you adjust the settings on an app on your iPhone. It requires a Mac computer to build it and an iPhone to operate. One advantage of Loop is that from the get-go you don’t need data or wifi for it to operate, which is convenient for people with kids who are in schools where there can be data blockers and/or sketchy wifi. 


OpenAPS can be built on a PC or Mac. The instructions are comprehensive but a bit more involved. Once built, you can adjust the settings fairly easily on your home computer. OpenAPS has a few (optional) advance features that Loop lacks — including the ability for the artificial pancreas to give “micro boluses” (tiny insulin boluses) if your blood sugar starts spiking and the ability to “autotune” your pump settings to make them more effective. (It’s recommended that these advance setting be used only after you have been “looping” for a while). There are ways to make this system work offline, and you can read about them here:

AndroidAPS —

Unlike Loop and OpenAPS, which require an external microcomputer to operate, with this system you only need a compatible Android phone and pump. AndroidAPS has its own Facebook group here: Unlike Loop and OpenAPS, which require older Medtronic pumps to operate, AndroidAPS can run on a Roche Accu-Check Combo pump which (apparently) is still available from the manufacturer under warranty in Canada. (NOTE: As none of us are using this system, so we know less about it).


If you want to build your own artificial pancreas system, you’ll need to source the following parts:

1) Compatible Insulin Pump

For most people, one of the hardest steps to building an artificial pancreas is finding a compatible insulin pump as all the other components can be sourced online. Only older Medtronic pumps are compatible with Looping although there is work underway to make Omnipod compatible We recommend that you begin by talking to people in the diabetes community you know who have been pumping for a long time, asking around your endo’s office, and setting up automatic alerts for Craigslist and eBay. If buying online, follow the safety protocols to protect yourself from potential fraud. There are some good tips under “Safe Purchasing” here:

2) CGM

There are two options. FB groups for each are linked below where you find more info from people who use each of the systems.

A) Freestyle Libre –
Note: If you plan to use the Freestyle Libre, you will need to get a transmitter such as the MiaoMiao and download a CGM app onto your phone: xDrip (Android) or Spike (iPhone)

B) Dexcom –

3) OpenAPS rig OR RileyLink for Loop (or both!)

OpenAPS rig (note that there are two types of rigs that you can build):
1. Intel Edison + Explorer Board OR 
2. Raspberry Pi + Explorer HAT

A list of all the parts needed (Lithium Ion battery, screws, etc) for both rigs can be found here ->

Loop rig:
RileyLink for Loop:

4) Mac (if building Loop/OpenAPS) or a PC (if building OpenAPS)

5) Two micro-USB cables that can transmit data (if building OpenAPS) or iPhone cable (if building Loop)

6) Apple Developer subscription (if building Loop)


The following links provide some more information on looping:

If you are interested in learning more and/or contributing to these systems, developers hang out and communicate here:





Survey to fill in:

Image may contain: 17 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and indoor
Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor
Image may contain: 6 people, including Tamara Ryan Burdic, people smiling, people sitting, screen, office and indoor
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close