Apple Close To Adding Blood Glucose Sensor To Apple Watch After Major Breakthroughs
A future Apple Watch could be capable of measuring a wearer’s blood glucose levels without any kind of pinprick, according to a new report.
While Apple has been rumored to be working on an Apple Watch feature that would include noninvasive blood glucose monitoring, a new report by Bloomberg claims that the company has now reached a “major milestone” which could allow the feature to be implemented.
The report says that Apple had a secret healthcare startup that it used for the design of the feature, with the company now employing a large workforce in order to bring the feature to Apple Watches around the world.
Hundreds of engineers are working on the project as part of Apple’s Exploratory Design Group, or XDG, a previously unreported effort akin to Google X. It’s one of the most covert initiatives at the famously secretive Apple. Even fewer people are involved in it than the company’s self-driving car undertaking, overseen by the Special Projects Group, or the mixed-reality headset, which is being developed by its Technology Development Group.
The report goes on to say that the Apple Watch would use specific light wavelengths in order to measure the amount of sugar in a wearer’s blood, doing away with the familiar pinpricks that diabetics are all too familiar with.
Apple is taking a different approach, using a chip technology known as silicon photonics and a measurement process called optical absorption spectroscopy. 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.
There is currently no hard timeframe for when the feature could be released, but it will be tied to whether or not the company can get government approval. Apple is said to be working on getting that done, however, with early discussions already having been held.