Apple Watch blood glucose monitor moving closer to reality – report
Apple is getting closer to bringing a holy grail of glucose monitoring to the Apple Watch, according to a report suggesting the company has achieved a “major milestone” in the feature’s development.
A new report from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman says Apple has been developing a non-invasive solution, which would allow people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels in real time.
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The feature has been rumoured for years now, but the technological challenges in bringing a “no-prick” monitor are significant. Previous efforts, dating back to Steve Jobs’ time in charge of the company, had failed, the report says, but recent progress means Apple “now believes it could eventually bring glucose monitoring to the market”.
So what has Apple feeling confident in this “moonshot-style project”? The report says it’s a measurement technique called “optical absorption spectroscopy” based upon chips developed in house.
The report says: “The system uses lasers to emit specific wavelengths of light into an area below the skin where there is interstitial fluid — substances that leak out of capillaries — that can be absorbed by glucose. The light is then reflected back to the sensor in a way that indicates the concentration of glucose. An algorithm then determines a person’s blood glucose level.”
Right now Apple has a prototype that’s around the size of an iPhone and is strapped to the bicep of test subjects. Naturally a lot will need to happen for the tech to sit within an Apple Watch and is likely still years away from appearing within a wearable.
According to the report, Apple has hundreds of engineers working on the “no prick” monitor. While the company had previously shielded the efforts behind a health care start-up, the work is now taking place under the Apple Exploratory Design Group, the sources say.
Gurman says the group resembles Alphabet’s Google X moonshot factory that invested huge sums in far-reaching projects.