The Apple Watch, much like other smartwatches, has risen in popularity due to a range of health monitoring features that the wearable device offers. Smartwatches have been seen equipped with sensors to track heart rate, blood oxygen, and sleep quality. A new report suggests that the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker and technology giant has hit a major milestone in the development of a blood glucose monitoring technology that could eventually make its way to the company’s wearable devices, including the Apple Watch.
According to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple has arrived at a major breakthrough in developing a blood glucose monitoring technology that could make its way to a future Apple Watch model. The technology will reportedly work without the need of using a needle to collect a blood sample of any kind to detect a user’s blood glucose levels.
The prick-less blood glucose detection technology is reportedly based on a process called optical absorption spectroscopy coupled with a dedicated chip technology called silicon photonics, that issues light at predefined wavelengths. These are pointed at an area under the wearer’s skin, measuring the light reflected from interstitial fluid, that is found in areas around cells. The fluid is capable of being absorbed by glucose, and the sensor is capable of identifying the glucose level in the wearer’s body based on the light that is reflected back and calculations using an algorithm, according to the report.
However, Apple’s covert mission isn’t all smooth sailing, as according to Gurman, the company’s prototype device currently measures about the size of an iPhone. Therefore, a lot more work would be required to actually get the technology to work on and fit into a compact wearable device such as an Apple Watch.
According to the report, Apple is determined to eventually bring glucose monitoring to the wearables market, which would not require any blood sampling, despite these ongoing challenges.
If the claims made by Gurman turn out to be true, it could lead to a revolution in the health-related wearables industry and truly transform the lives of a vast majority of the world’s adult population (over 530 million, or 1 in 10 people globally, as of 2021) that suffer from diabetes and other related medical conditions.
According to the report, Apple has intentionally worked on keeping the project a secret, while dubbing it ‘E5’. Despite the reported breakthroughs in the development of the health monitoring feature, it could take a good while for the technology to be made accessible to customers.
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