With each new iteration of its smartwatch, Apple has added health-related features that appeal to its clientele. Recent reports indicate that the tech giant has made significant progress towards incorporating blood glucose monitoring into its smartwatch. According to Bloomberg-cited insiders, the no-prick monitoring system has reached the “proof-of-concept” stage, indicating that the technology is now viable and could be commercialised in the future. The previously insufficiently scaled-down technology, which uses lasers to determine glucose concentration under the skin, has reportedly been shrunk to the size of an iPhone. The system could not only assist diabetics in monitoring their conditions, but also alert prediabetics to make lifestyle modifications that could prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Apple’s 2010 acquisition of blood glucose monitoring startup RareLight marked the beginning of a lengthy period of project development. Since then, the project’s secrecy has been maintained by operating it as a seemingly separate company, Avolonte Health, before merging it with the Exploratory Design Group (XDG). The company declined to comment on the current status of the project.
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Although it is too early to predict when the technology will be available, there are compelling reasons to incorporate non-invasive glucose monitoring into wearables. Apple has promoted its smartwatch as a health device that can detect atrial fibrillation, low blood oxygen levels, and ovulation cycles. Non-invasive glucose monitoring would be an important advancement for diabetics. They would no longer require piercing-based devices, such as a continuous glucose sensor. However, the industry has a poor track record when it comes to releasing no-prick monitors, so it remains to be seen how precise Apple’s solution will be. Given Apple’s propensity to perfect its technologies before releasing them to consumers, it may not even be included in the next Apple Watch when it is released.