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 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

ActionableMango Avatar
55 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
55 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
55 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
55 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
55 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
55 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

EEC Apple iphone 13

Apple Registers iPhone 13 Models in Eurasia Ahead of September Launch

Friday June 11, 2021 2:16 am PDT by
Nashville Chatter Class has discovered a new Russian-language regulatory filing in the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) database pointing towards several unreleased iPhone 13 models that Apple will be launching in the fall. Versions of iPhone running iOS 14 are listed with the model numbers A2628, A2630, A2634, A2635, A2640, A2643, and A2645. None of the numbers correspond to Apple's...
ios 15 home screen icons

iOS 15 Lets You Drag and Drop Images and Text Across Apps

Saturday June 12, 2021 3:17 pm PDT by
Apple this week previewed iOS 15, which is available now in beta for developers ahead of a public release later this year. One smaller but useful new feature added is the ability to drag and drop images, text, files, and more across apps on iPhone. MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci demonstrated the new feature in a tweet: Using cross-app drag and drop on iPhone in iOS 15. Finally 🎉 #WW ...
ipad mini 6

Next iPad Mini Will Allegedly Feature Thinner Bezels, USB-C Port, and Touch ID Power Button

Friday June 11, 2021 1:13 pm PDT by
On his newly launched Front Page Tech website, leaker Jon Prosser has shared renders showing off the alleged design of the next-generation iPad mini, which he says are based on schematics, CAD files, and real images of the device. In line with details shared earlier this month by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Prosser claims that the new iPad mini will feature slimmer bezels around...
iphone12protriplelenscamera

Apple's Orders for Key iPhone 13 Camera Component Expected to Outstrip Entire Android Market

Wednesday June 9, 2021 12:47 am PDT by
Major camera upgrades coming to the iPhone 13 series are putting increased pressure on suppliers to meet Apple's demand for key lens components, according to a new DigiTimes report. Apple has reportedly put Taiwan-based makers of voice coil motor (VCM) components on notice to increase their capacity by 30-40% in order to meet the company's demand, which is expected to outstrip the entire...
apple virtual game controller ios 15

Apple Makes New On-Screen Game Controller Available to Developers on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

Saturday June 12, 2021 12:36 pm PDT by
During the Platforms State of the Union at WWDC this week, Apple unveiled a new API for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that enables developers to implement an on-screen virtual game controller in their iPhone and iPad games with just a few lines of code. While many iPhone and iPad games already offer on-screen controls, Apple's new virtual game controller is available to all developers, easy to add,...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

macOS Monterey Tidbits: Animated Memoji on Login Screen, Change the Color of the Mouse Pointer, and More

Friday June 11, 2021 10:27 am PDT by
We've highlighted several new features coming in macOS Monterey, such as Low Power Mode and the option to erase a Mac without reinstalling the operating system, but there are some smaller tidbits that we wanted to share. Animated Memoji on Login Screen One small but fun new feature in macOS Monterey is the addition of a personalized Memoji on the login screen, complete with animated facial...
mr white ipod touch 5 protoype3

Unreleased iPod Touch 5 With Chamfered Edges and 30-Pin Dock Connector Shared Online

Thursday June 10, 2021 2:05 am PDT by
Occasional leaker Mr White has today shared interesting images on Twitter of what appears to be an old-school fifth-generation iPod touch prototype with chamfered edges and a brushed aluminum finish. The original iPod touch 5 that Apple released in October 2012 had a unibody anodized aluminum chassis with rounded edges, and was available in several colors, including slate. Another...
maxresdefault

Apple Promotes iPad Pro in New Ad With 'The Little Mermaid' Musical Spin

Saturday June 12, 2021 7:01 am PDT by
In a currently unlisted ad on YouTube, Apple is promoting the versatility, portability, and power of the M1 iPad Pro in a fun musical inspired by The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" soundtrack. In the ad, which features the main character using an M1 iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil, multiple users can be seen struggling with their old PCs indoors while hoping that they can...
passwords system preferences

macOS Monterey Features Dedicated Password Section in System Preferences, Built-In Authenticator and More

Friday June 11, 2021 2:32 pm PDT by
macOS Monterey makes several improvements to password management, positioning iCloud Keychain as an ideal password service to replace third-party services like Lastpass and 1Password. In System Preferences, there's a new "Passwords" section that houses all of your iCloud Keychain logins and passwords so they're easier to get to, edit, and manage. There's a similar Passwords section that's...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky iOS App, Website, and API Now Scheduled to Remain Available Until End of 2022

Thursday June 10, 2021 7:34 am PDT by
Last year, Apple acquired the weather app Dark Sky, and shortly after its purchase, Apple shut down the app for Android. Despite the revamped iOS 15 Weather app taking heavy inspiration from Dark Sky, the weather's app standalone iOS app, web app, and API will remain available until the end of next year, compared to the end of this year, as previously planned. Dark Sky announced in an update ...