Wearables are great for keeping track of activity and reminding us to stay fit, but they are hardly medical devices. The closest some, but not all, get is having a heart rate monitor or a blood oxygen level sensor. In the very near future, however, at least one wearable might have one more thing: a sugar level monitor. According to insider sources, Apple is probably closer anyone has ever been to creating the holy grail of the intersection of medicine and mobile technology: a glucose monitor that you can simply wear on your skin, just like an Apple Watch.
Non-invasive ways of measuring sugar levels isn’t a mere convenience. It can mean the difference between life and death. Many diabetics fail to keep their sugar levels in check because the most common way to monitor that is by drawing blood. Non-invasive methods have been in the minds of many in both medical and technology fields, and apparently in the late Steve Jobs’ mind as well.
According to sources, Apple has been secretly working on that project for at least five years, maybe even more. It dates back when Jobs was still alive and envisioned wearables to have all types of sensors for measuring oxygen levels, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. Two of those already exist in one form or another. The last remains an elusive beast.
But Apple might be close to reaching that goal. Apple is said to already be conducting feasibility trials in across the Bay area. It is also hiring consultants on top of the many biomedical acquisitions it has made over the years. Of course, those sources don’t have any word on when Apple wants the technology to be made available to consumers.
If Apple does manage to integrate something in its Apple Watch, it would give it a significant edge not only over other smartwatches but other companies as well. Google, for one, is developing smart contact lenses that also monitor blood sugar levels by analyzing tears. Strapping on a smartwatch, however, is more convenient and less error-prone than trying hard not to poke your eye with your finger.