Apple Watch may become the first smartwatch to be able to track glucose without pricking as the company has made notable progress on noninvasive blood glucose monitoring technology, says a new report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The feature has been planned to be included in Apple Watch in future and the iPhone maker wants to use the function to allow diabetics and others to test their blood glucose levels without having to prick the skin for blood testing.
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple is developing a silicon photonics chip that uses optical absorption spectroscopy to shine light from a laser under the skin to determine the concentration of glucose in the body, in order to test glucose levels without blood.
The goal of this secret endeavour — dubbed E5 — is to measure how much glucose is in someone’s body without needing to prick the skin for blood. After hitting major milestones recently, the company now believes it could eventually bring glucose monitoring to market, according to people familiar with the effort, the Bloomberg report noted.
Apple’s technology is in a “proof-of-concept” stage that is viable. However, it needs to be condensed to a size that can fit into a wearable.
The main chipset to power the prototype has been developed by Taiwan’s TSMC; the California-based tech giant has previously worked with a firm named Rockley Photonics to create sensors and chips for glucose monitoring. Earlier in 2021, Rockley Photonics announced a digital sensor system that it said could monitor body temperature, glucose trends, hydration, alcohol, blood pressure, lactate and more. The company had made it clear that Apple was its biggest customer in regulatory filings, but the iPhone maker eventually ended the relationship.
To recall, Apple originally began to work on alternative glucose monitoring after acquiring RareLight in 2010, under Steve Jobs. For many years, Apple used a startup called Avolante Health LLC to work quietly on the project in a secret facility before it was transitioned to the XDG, says a report by MacRumors.