Blood Glucose Monitoring on the Apple Watch Likely Still ‘Three to Seven Years’ Away

Blood Glucose Monitoring on the Apple Watch Likely Still ‘Three to Seven Years’ Away

Blood glucose monitoring technology’s inclusion into the list of available features of the Apple Watch is unlikely to take place for several years, says Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his latest “Power On” newsletter.

Apple has reportedly made major progress with its noninvasive blood glucose monitoring technology for the Apple Watch. The technology will allow diabetics and others to test their blood glucose levels with no need for a skin prick.

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.

Gurman says Apple “still needs to perfect the algorithms and on-board sensors” to bring the technology to market. Crucially, the company also needs to “shrink it down to the size of a module that can fit in the small and thin package that is an Apple Watch.” Gurman believes this process “will take another three to seven years at least.”

While TSMC developed the main chip powering the prototype, Apple has previously worked with Rockley Photonics to create sensors and chips for glucose monitoring.