Apple Has 'Secret' Team of Biomedical Engineers Developing Sensors for Non-Invasively Monitoring Blood Glucose

healthappupdateAt a nondescript office in Palo Alto, Apple is rumored to have a small team of biomedical engineers researching better methods for monitoring blood sugar, reports CNBC.

Apple's work on glucose monitoring is said to have started with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who wanted to develop a sensor that could continuously and non-invasively monitor blood sugar levels to improve quality of life. Apple is far enough along in its research that feasibility trials are being conducted at clinical sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it has hired consultants to sort out regulatory issues.

The glucose team is said to report to Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies. [...]

One of the people said that Apple is developing optical sensors, which involves shining a light through the skin to measure indications of glucose.

Rumors of Apple's work on advanced healthcare initiatives like diabetes management aren't new. Early Apple Watch information suggested the wearable device would be able to measure things like blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

Many health-related sensors that Apple wanted to include in the original Apple Watch were reportedly dropped because the technology was not consistently accurate, but rumors at the time said Apple would pursue its work on more advanced health sensors. Apple has also made several health-related acquisitions and around the time the Apple Watch was in development, hired dozens of biomedical experts.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has since said that Apple does not want to put the Apple Watch through the FDA approval process, something that would need to happen for more advanced healthcare features, so it is not clear if this is a feature Apple foresees being added to the wrist-worn device. From Tim Cook in 2015:

"We don't want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. I wouldn't mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it -- maybe an app, maybe something else."

If Apple is planning on more advanced sensors for the Apple Watch, such features are not likely to be included in the third-generation device rumored to be coming in the fall of 2017. Information on that device thus far points towards a smaller update focusing on improving battery life and perhaps adding features like cellular connectivity.

While Apple works on its in-house own blood sugar monitoring solution, it has launched CareKit, a platform that allows app developers to create integrated software that allows patients and doctors to better manage medical conditions. Diabetes monitor One Drop was one of the first companies to support CareKit.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

ActionableMango Avatar
58 months ago
Non-invasive monitoring would be a big, big deal to a heck of a lot of people. This would be the Apple Watch's "killer app" for anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rainshadow Avatar
58 months ago
This would SKYROCKET the market for wearables and the applewatch. With diabetes being so prevalent, and having an apple designed solution to monitoring it, it would be huge. Genius idea, that I'm sure they have been considering for some time.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JeffyTheQuik Avatar
58 months ago
Sign me up!

(Type 1 Diabetic for 45 years)
(And before you go there, I was 3 when I got it. T1D is when your pancreas stops producing insulin)
(Oh yeah, I have a Class 3 Medical from the FAA too...)
[doublepost=1492042124][/doublepost]
[doublepost=1492041545][/doublepost]Maybe Apple should buy this solid company: BioTelemetry, Inc. (BEAT)
or Dexcom... as well as Tandem Diabetic Care...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
58 months ago
More sensors in the watch like ones that measure glucose are definitely something I want. I'm not afflicted by diabetes but I know how something like that would be life changing to those that are.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thermal Avatar
58 months ago
Non invasive? You need the actual blood to get accurate blood measurement.
Not necessarily. You can check blood oxygen levels non-invasively; blood glucose levels are the next step.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jbernie Avatar
58 months ago
Type 1 Diabetic for 31 years now, many things have been promised to us over the years so much so that I rarely give any of them any interest until you actually see it getting through the FDA approval process. I can also remember non invasive blood sugar testing being worked on back in the early 90s, there was a diabetes forum on CompuServe (dates me a bit :) ) where it was being discussed. Keep in mind if there were easy fixes we would have them by now, the short and then long term success rates of the various "cures" are pretty bad, islet cell or pancreas transplants can work short term but then the body starts to reject them & back to square one.

The big deal with non invasive testing is that it should reduce the cost of ongoing treatment significantly, even if the device was to cost say $500 out of pocket you could still save money, let alone pain etc, over just a few years even with insurance coverage (USA). If Apple doesn't go to stupid on the proprietary connection stuff then something like this would be adopted quickly, guess that would be an interesting test to see if Apple really only wants to make money or truly make a difference in the world.

One problem with most systems is that you still need to do some regular tests every day to ensure the system is still accurate enough, IIRC the accuracy of the meters (home use) is still +/-10% or so, just improved accuracy would pretty awesome.

As an alternate, for type 1, the hybrid closed loop system Medtronic is about to release is of interest, but to be honest having the pump + another sensor attached isn't exactly exciting but I admit I am interested.

http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/products/minimed-670g-insulin-pump-system
I certainly hope we see improvements, back in 86 a blood sugar test took 2 minutes and you had to wipe the blood off of the strip after 1 minute, the current meters are pretty nice in comparison.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1x mac mini screen feature

High-End 'M1X' Mac Mini With New Design and Additional Ports Expected to Launch in the 'Next Several Months'

Sunday August 22, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to launch an updated high-end Mac mini with a new design and a faster "M1X" Apple silicon processor in the "next several months," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. In the latest publication of his Power On newsletter, Gurman writes that a new high-end Mac mini, which has previously been reported to feature a new design with additional ports, can be expected to replace...
mac scanner permission error

Apple Says Fix Planned for 'You Do Not Have Permission to Open the Application' Error When Using a Scanner on Mac

Saturday August 14, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
In a newly published support document on its website, Apple has acknowledged an error that some users may receive when they try to use a scanner with a Mac in the Image Capture app, Preview app, or the Printers & Scanners section of System Preferences. A screenshot of the error message from the HP Support Community When attempting to use a scanner with a Mac, Apple said users might get an...
macbookpro13large

macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

Sunday November 15, 2020 5:33 am PST by
A large number of late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are reporting that the macOS Big Sur update is bricking their machines. A MacRumors forum thread contains a significant number of users reporting the issue, and similar problems are being reported across Reddit and the Apple Support Communities, suggesting the problem is widespread. Users are reporting that during the...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
General YouTube Feature 1

YouTube Premium and Music Surpass 50 Million Subscribers

Friday September 3, 2021 2:19 am PDT by
YouTube says it has passed 50 million subscribers for its Premium and Music subscriptions, making it the "fastest growing music subscription" service in the world, according to YouTube's global head of music, Lyor Cohen. YouTube says that it has more than 50 million paying subscribers collectively across YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The Google-owned service says it attributes this...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
apple wallet drivers license

Apple Announces First U.S. States That Will Let You Add Your Driver's License to Your iPhone

Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Apple today announced the first U.S. states that will be rolling out the ability for residents to add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch. Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to support the feature, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow, according to Apple. Apple said select TSA security checkpoints in ...