Date: Thursday, April 13th, 2017, 05:11
Category: Apple Watch, Hardware, iPhone, Rumor, Wearables
The next-gen Apple Watch may feature glucose sensors.
CNBC, citing sources close to the story, has reported that Apple has reportedly hired a team of biomedical engineers to develop noninvasive glucose sensors for integration in Apple Watch, a solution that could lead to continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels for users with diabetes.
The small biomedical group is apparently part of a “super secret” initiative, first imagined by late cofounder Steve Jobs, to create a noninvasive glucose monitoring solution. The company is said to have been working on the project for five years now.
At present, it’s difficult to track sugar levels without drawing blood and there have been several corporate attempts to achieve this without much success.
The diabetes research team, stationed in an office building somewhere in Palo Alto, is said to be ready to conduct feasibility trials, a major step toward gaining necessary federal regulatory approvals. Apple could begin testing the process at clinical sites in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Details remain scant, although sources claim Apple is using optical sensors capable of measuring glucose indications through a user’s skin. About 30 people were cited as part of the engineering team a year ago, though this number could have increased via acquisitions and recent hire.
Apple last June hired Dr. Rajiv Kumar, a pediatric specialist who formerly worked for Stanford Children’s Health. Kumar was one of the first medical professionals to take advantage of Apple’s HealthKit platform, facilitating a ResearchKit study on Type 1 diabetes monitoring. Though his previous work focused on diabetes, it is unclear if Kumar is part of Apple’s glucose monitoring technology team.
In 2013, Apple picked up several employees of defunct biotech company CB MediSensors, which specialized in non-invasive sensors capable of detecting substances within the body. These substances also included glucose.
Since the debut of HealthKit in 2014, Apple has increasingly focused on health and fitness products. A report last year suggests the company’s interest in health sciences was sparked by a challenge from Jobs, who wanted to fix what he viewed as a disjointed healthcare system. Jobs believed technology could solve a data gap between patients and healthcare professionals, an idea that gave rise to HealthKit, ResearchKit and ultimately Apple Watch.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.