New sensor could turn 2022 Apple Watch into a doctor on your wrist

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The Blood Oxygen sensor employs LEDs, along with photodiodes on the back crystal of Apple Watch Series 6.
You might soon be wearing the equivalent of a medical laboratory.
Photo: Apple

A deal between Apple and Rockley Photonics could add new medical sensors to the Apple Watch in 2022. That might include non-invasive monitoring of blood sugar levels, body temperature and blood pressure. It might even add the ability to measure blood-alcohol levels.

The British startup promises to “bring laboratory diagnostics to the wrist.”

And Rockley is undoubtably working with the iPhone-maker. The company is about to have its IPO, and documentation filed with the SEC mentions, “Apple Inc., Rockley’s largest customer.”

But the two companies’ cooperation might not lead to significant change as quickly as some might hope. In March, CEO Andrew Rickman said in the SEC filing, “The commercial launch of Rockley’s consumer product offerings is expected to be in 2022.”

Apple Watch: A doctor on your wrist

Rockley makes sensors that use light to examine someone’s blood. These are tiny enough to build into an Apple Watch.

“Our module compresses the sensing capabilities of a tabletop clinical spectrometer into a wearable chip that could be carried on your wrist,” said Rickman. “This enables continuous monitoring of numerous biomarkers, some of which are life critical such as hydration, blood pressure, core body temperature, lactate, and glucose levels for the first time ever.”

Rickman also mentioned testing for alcohol and carbon monoxide levels.

Apple has been working to add a noninvasive blood sugar sensor to its wearable for some time. It recently obtained a patent involving absorption spectroscopy, the same technology used by Rockley.

An unconfirmed report from January said glucose monitoring would debut in the 2021 Apple Watch. But Rickman’s statement would seem to indicate the wait will be longer.

Via The Telegraph