Apple reportedly has a secret team working on developing sensors for non-invasively and continuously monitoring blood sugar levels to help treat diabetes.
This goal is considered a “holy grail” by many researchers, due to the challenge of tracking glucose levels accurately without having to break the skin to do so. Clearly Apple’s aiming as high as ever!
Apple’s group of biosensor experts are said to be working at a separate office in Palo Alto, miles away from Apple’s headquarters. The work has reportedly been going on for five years, although it can actually trace its lineage back to an initiative supported by Steve Jobs.
It is now “far enough along” that feasibility trials have been carried out at clinical sites in the Bay Area. Apple has also hired consultants who can help it navigate the oftentimes complex regulatory pathways needed to bring a product like this to market.
The team reports to Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies. According to one source, Apple had 30 people working on the project one year ago, and is running separate to the Apple Watch team, which has also been a recipient of Apple’s hiring spree of biomedical experts.
There’s no definitive word on how the technology may work, but allegedly it could involve optical sensors, which measure glucose indicators by shining a light through skin. While this is certainly an innovative concept, it’s one that’s been tried — and failed at — by multiple other researchers.
According to one expert, managing to do this successfully would cost a company “several hundred millions or even a billion dollars.”
Earlier this year, Apple started selling a third-party FDA-approved blood glucose monitoring kit on its online store, created by the health startup One Drop. Costing $99.95, the device comprises a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, 100 test strips, carry case, and a chrome lancing device.