pumpco labs

labs-150wpumpco labs is where we investigate and try out new technologies to see what they are good at and how we might best use them.

Many of the technologies are third-party, but we also use the lab to experiment with different ways of doing things ourselves.




We have evaluated a large number of software technologies over the last four years at all levels of the OSI stack, including operating systems, platforms, servers, engines, programming languages,  databases, libraries and frameworks and communication protocols.

Some we have embraced, others were discarded and some we have used for a while and moved on from.


Phil is an example of an internally generated Labs project, which has made the transition to production.

Phil is a device-independent user interface specification language, built on top of HTML5 and making use of leading javascript libraries, which makes is possible for developers to rapidly develop rich, intelligent and co-operating apps, that run in a browser on any device.

App Flows

App Flows are likewise another example of an internally generated innovation, allowing very rapid building of rules-based questionnaires, assessments, forms and workflows of all kinds making it easy to capture relevant information and automate actions (e.g. appointments, referrals, ordering devices etc.).

Built on a powerful domain specific language it is extremely flexible, personalisable and intelligent and enables everything

  • from self-service online questionnaires, to complex logic, multi-part clinical assessments
  • from ordering a personal device, to capture of data from multiple wireless devices in a virtual clinic
  • from describing a resource, to setting up of an entirely new regional resource centre
  • from booking repeat appointments, to scripting automated specialist call centre workflows
  • from setting metric preferences, to setting up personalised intelligent agent rules for a diabetic app

As an example of its speed of use, the most complex rules-based holistic top-to-toe clinical and wellness assessment from the Dartmouth Institute in the US only took 2 days to implement from start to finish.



We have evaluated and integrated various devices including all the market leading activity monitors:

  • Nike + running sensors
  • Nike Fuel band
  • Fitbit activity and sleep trackers
  • Jawbone Up fitness trackers
  • iHealth activity and sleep trackers

medical devices have included:

  • glucometers, wireless and USB
  • bluetooth spirometers
  • bluetooth blood pressure monitors
  • bluetooth ECG monitors
  • bluetooth pO2 monitors

wellness devices:

  • weight scales, bluetooth and wifi, both consumer and clinical grade
  • ultrasound body composition scanners
  • galvanic skin response receptors

assisted living devices and sensors

  • various type of switches
  • pressure sensors
  • temperature sensors
  • infra-red motion detectors
  • alarms
  • power monitoring
  • energy harvesting devices

and a wide range of communication and computing devices


Current projects

Currently in the Lab we have a the following ongoing projects

Google Glass®

google glass

Google Glass is a revolutionary wearable device that offers users the ability to access powerful applications through its optical display and voice recognition.

We were one of the first wave of Google Glass developers and thought it would be cool to link it up to the pump and take it out for a spin. See the google glass for healthpump page for more details.

pumpkin pi®

Pumpkin PiWe love to hack on the raspberry pi and have investigated many similar sorts of similar tiny and cheap computers, bare boards, USB sticks, little cubes – they all advantages, disadvantages and sweet spot.

Although we have had great fun integrating all sorts of devices with Apple iOS devices, android phones, Mac, Linux and Windows computers, we wanted something which could integrate everything and could be used where the none of these were available.

We embarked on a little project to build a “pumpkin pi”, which will bring agent-powered smart coordination into all sorts of homes, but is particularly aimed at those without pervasive computing or even broadband.

Take a look at the pumpkin pi page to find out more

living labs


A natural extension to pumpco labs is a living lab where new technologies can be experienced and co-created by citizens. pumpco is working with researchers at Bristol Robotics Lab to provide its technology platform into a “living lab” expressly for this purpose.

The living lab will incorporate all existing types of home devices, including assisted living and health and wellness, but will also incorporate new developments in ubiquitous display technologies as well as robotics and tele-haptics.

Citizens will be co-researchers, both contributing to existing research, as well as taking an active part in entirely new applied citizen-driven action research in their neighbourhoods, supported by the living lab.


“Into the drawer”

old-tech-bwOf course not everything we look at is useful or viable :-(

The two devices below are examples of those we have evaluated and discarded.

über watch

We had a good looking multi-function watch with touchscreen, inbuilt phone, GPS, galvanic skin response and heart rate monitor as well as a number of apps and was affordable. It also looked great on paper and we thought it might have particular application for older people.

When we imported a sample, however, we found its Achilles heal was its the development environment, which was out of the ark and really limited what we could usefully do. Add to that that the micro-usb charging port was just to fiddly to use and the battery life was poor when used as we would want to, so it went “into the drawer”

clinic on your wrist

This offered all sorts of physiological measurements and had good battery life mainly due to its using proprietary communications protocols developed for military purposes.

However at a time when everything is getting so small, this device was far too cumbersome to fit on the wrists of most people and it too had to go “into the drawer”