How It Works

I’m one who likes to take things apart and see how they work. I’ve done it with the Omnipod pods (both older and newer generation) and also the Asante Snap pump body. Granted, I haven’t done this with any other pump seeing as how they cost several thousands of dollars, but I am sure they are cool on the inside too.

Now, with the Tandem t:slim, I’ve been intrigued as to how the “micro-delivery” pump action works, since it’s different than other standard piston style pumps in that it doesn’t push from the bottom of the cartridge up, but rather a small bit is vacuumed into the mechanism to the bag and then pushed up into the tubing – a safety feature that allows you to only be subject to 0.3u of insulin at the time verses, say, 20-300u. So, true to form, I took a cartridge apart to see how it actually works. Granted, I’ve taken several apart just to see the bag on the inside, but never to actually see the mechanics of the pump itself. So, for those of you who are just as excited about this stuff as I am, here you go:

So, basically, there’s two little pieces at the end of the piston rod that when pushed in, push air or insulin into the tubing and the space between the two parts of the piston rod is eliminated. When the piston rod is pulled back, the space between the two parts fill with insulin as it is pulled apart and then the insulin is moved back into the area under the tubing to be pushed up into the tubing when the piston rod is pushed back again. It’s a rather genius idea. And the parts? They’re interlocked in a sort-of T pattern. How awesome? Now whether or not that is where they get the ” t: ” part in everything, I’m not sure, but I know that the one little piece looks very similar to the “T” button on the pump, which is just.freakin’.COOL… like, COOL doesn’t describe it… it’s WICKED AWESOMENESS.

Of course, if you want to see Tandem’s official video, you can go here.

I don’t know why this stuff excites me the way it does. To others, this may not be that cool and they’ll think I’m totally off my rocker, but this stuff, to me, is super awesome and gets me fired up. I like to know they how and why of things, not just that it is what it is. So, High-5, Tandem developer people. You’ve made this inner tech geek VERY happy. Of course, it would REALLY blow me away if I could see the inner workings of the pump, but you know.. I don’t want to ruin this $7k piece of life-saving beautifulness.