Apple‘s next Apple Watch may offer a continuous blood glucose monitoring feature, marking a significant development for the wearable’s health tracking capabilities. While the Apple Watch already boasts a range of features, such as step tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and ECG and SpO2 readings, the absence of blood glucose monitoring has long been a notable gap.
According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Apple has made significant progress toward introducing non-invasive blood glucose monitoring on the Apple Watch. The company reportedly has hundreds of engineers working on the project and has achieved a proof of concept for the technology, using a combination of silicon photonics and optical absorption spectroscopy measurements.
This technology uses lasers to emit specific wavelengths of light into the skin, where interstitial fluid – fluids that leak out of capillaries – can be absorbed by glucose. The light is then reflected back to the sensor, indicating the concentration of glucose, and an algorithm calculates a person’s blood glucose level.
Apple is also partnering with TSMC to create custom silicon for the photonic chips, which could potentially fit into the smaller chassis of the Apple Watch.
While the proof-of-concept device is currently about the size of an iPhone and worn on the arm, this development marks a significant step forward in the technology. However, it is likely to take a while before it becomes available on the Apple Watch. The company sees the feature as “viable,” but there is still a lot of work required to fit the technology into the wearable’s smaller footprint.
This means that we should not expect blood glucose monitoring on the Apple Watch Series 9 or even the Series 10. The feature could potentially be ready by 2025 or 2026, but it is difficult to say with certainty at this stage.
While Apple may be working towards introducing non-invasive blood glucose monitoring on the Apple Watch, other companies are also making progress in this field. Researchers at Kennesaw State University, for example, have developed a functioning blood glucose tracking sensor with a reported 90% accuracy rating. Additionally, Samsung and Rockley Photonics are also working on similar technology.
The development of non-invasive blood glucose monitoring on wearables such as the Apple Watch marks a significant step forward in healthcare technology. While there is still a way to go before it becomes widely available, it has the potential to significantly improve the lives of those living with diabetes and other related conditions.