Apple has made excellent progress on its noninvasive blood glucose monitoring technology for the Apple Watch, says a new report from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. The feature will allow individuals to test their blood glucose levels without the need to prick their skin for testing.
Apple’s technology includes a silicon photonics chip that uses optical absorption spectroscopy to shine specific waveforms of light from a laser under the skin to determine the concentration of glucose in the body.
Apple’s target function for the monitor is for a wearable device that is able to warn people if they’re prediabetic, allowing them to make lifestyle changes to avoid full-blown diabetes. Regulatory approval from the government is still in the early discussion stage.
While the technology is said to be in the “proof-of-concept” stages to prove the technology is viable but requires miniaturization in order to fit in the Apple Watch. The current prototype device is about the size of an iPhone and can be worn on a user’s arm. A prior version is said to have required a tabletop.
While TSMC developed the main chip powering the prototype, Apple has previously worked with Rockley Photonics to create sensors and chips for glucose monitoring.
Gurman says Apple has hundreds of engineers based in its Exploratory Design Group (XDG) working on the project, but the technology is still years off. Apple has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the project.