Still, neither of these systems addresses high blood sugars, which over time can damage the eyes, kidneys, heart and nerves in people with diabetes. In 2017, Medtronic plans to add a feature to dose insulin if glucose levels rise above a certain threshold.
Further improvements on the technology are in clinical trials. These include: "hybrid" systems that are automated except that the wearer has to signal that he or she is about to eat; "closed-loop" systems that don't require such input; and a fully automated system that adds glucagon in addition to insulin.
This last one, which the investigators call a "bionic pancreas," is a bit controversial in the field; some doctors think a functional artificial pancreas system can be achieved without adding the extra hormone, which is less stable than insulin.