Apple sensors could help with noninvasive glucose monitoring

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Apple Watch Series 5 LTPO screen
New Apple Watch could have a game-changing new feature.
Screenshot: Apple

Patent applications published Thursday shed new light on Apple’s quest to create a noninvasive blood sugar sensor. Unconfirmed rumors point to the transformative medical feature arriving in this year’s Apple Watch upgrade. If true, it could offer diabetics and others a convenient way to accurately track blood glucose levels.

The main patent application is titled “Terahertz Spectroscopy and Imaging in Dynamic Environments with Performance Enhancements Using Ambient Sensors.” It doesn’t mention glucose or blood sugar specifically. However, it describes a sensor system involving absorption spectroscopy, which noninvasive glucose monitoring systems rely on.

A summary of the main patent application (of which the others are variations) says:

“A spectral response of the reflected [electromagnetic] wave is determined that includes absorption spectra that is indicative of the transmission medium in the environment. The absorption spectra are compared with known absorption spectra of target transmission mediums. Based on the comparing, a particular target transmission medium is identified as being the transmission medium in the environment, and a concentration level of the identified target transmission medium in the environment is determined.”

Glucose monitoring on Apple Watch

After the original Apple Watch launched in 2015, Cupertino continually added health-related functionality. Fitness-oriented features like workout tracking arrived at the start. But later Apple Watch models added hardware capable of administering electrocardiograms and monitoring blood-oxygen levels.

Apple reportedly began working on noninvasive glucose monitoring a long time ago. According to a 2017 CNBC report, Cupertino employed a “secret group of biomedical engineers developing sensors to monitor blood sugar levels.” However, the potentially powerful feature remains MIA from Apple Watch.

We might not have to wait much longer, though. According to a recent report, Apple is currently proving its blood sugar monitoring technology’s reliability and stability. The company plans to introduce the feature later this year with the next-gen Apple Watch.

An estimated one in 10 Americans is diabetic. That number suggests that, if Apple can introduce a glucose monitor, it could become the biggest Apple Watch feature to date. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously said he thinks health care advances will go down in history as the company’s longest-lasting legacy.

Would a blood sugar monitor be an Apple Watch game-changer for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Via: Apple Insider