Apple supplier launches non-invasive glucose monitor & health sensor tech

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited July 14
A new "clinic-on-the-wrist" digital health system from Apple supplier Rockley Photonics backs up expectations that the Apple Watch will ultimately gain non-invasive glucose monitoring.

Rockley Photonics is testing a
Rockley Photonics is testing a "clinic-on-a-wrist"


Apple has reportedly been working on a glucose monitoring system for the Apple Watch for many years, with some rumors pointing to its inclusion in the forthcoming "Apple Watch Series 7". That hasn't been considered likely, based on the complexities of the technology, but a new release from Apple supplier Rockley Photonics may change that.

The UK company, known to have a significant relationship with Apple, has announced what it describes as a "complete full-stack" wearable health system.

"Rockley's sensor module and associated reference designs for consumer products integrate hardware and application firmware," said the company in a statement, "to enable wearable devices to monitor multiple biomarkers, including core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, and glucose trends, among others."


Notice the Apple Watch Sport Band on this test system
Notice the Apple Watch Sport Band on this test system


As revealed by the company, the system will be used in "a sequence of in-house human studies" over the next few months. The system is approximately the size and shape of an Apple Watch -- to the extent that publicity photos show it using an Apple Watch Sport Band.

However, it's unlikely to be released to the public in this form -- or directly by Rockley Photonics. Instead, this is a test platform that will adapted by other firms.

"Our reference designs will significantly aid our customers and partners with the deployment of our technology and accelerate their own scalable, high-volume product delivery," continued the company.

If Apple uses Rockley's technology in a future Apple Watch, it will work by generating "a large number of discrete laser outputs from a single silicon chip." This sensor "non-invasively probes beneath the skin" to gain health measurements.

Rockley Photonics says that its system uses infrared spectrophotometers to detect and monitor a wider range of health issue than the green LED systems in most wrist devices.

The company says that its system will allow it to "analyze blood, interstitial fluids, and various layers of the dermis for constituents and physical phenomena of interest."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,828member
    IMO, we are definitely not far from first generation non-invasive, continuous glucose/ECG monitoring on a general wearable device.

    One company has already revealed testing is in progress with release planned for later this year or next year.

    As the industry picks up on this, it will represent a major step forward in health tracking. 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    MorkMork Posts: 17member
    Star Trek Tricorder, hmmm, iPad was a 60’s Trek device, can’t wait for the warp engine…..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    gregoriusmgregoriusm Posts: 452member
    I’ll be all over the first Apple Watch with this technology, as my first Apple Watch. 
    Beatsbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 790member
    This sensor sounds seriously amazing. Glucose, alcohol, hydration and more!?!

    i think glucose monitoring  will have the greatest impact on diabetics but I can imagine it would be very helpful for everyone. (Maybe I do not need to have another piece of pie.)
    edited July 14 Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    dk49dk49 Posts: 105member
    Unlikely that this technology will be integrated in the upcoming Apple watch. Maybe watch 8 or 9..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 790member
    Monitoring so many blood factors should result in far earlier detection of many harmful conditions.  This is exciting!
    Gabyseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    williamh said:
    ….
    i think glucose monitoring  will have the greatest impact on diabetics but I can imagine it would be very helpful for everyone. (Maybe I do not need to have another piece of pie.)
    if your endocrine system works the way it should, it won’t matter how many pieces of pie you eat. 

    While an exciting technology, for managing diabetes there are some issues that need to be addressed. 

    What does one do while your watch is charging?  Do you need two watches?

    As much as I love my watch, I can’t imagine wearing it 24/7/365.

    How often is blood glucose being checked?  Is it every 5 minutes or (more likely) an on-demand function. Continuous would be preferable for diabetics. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,828member
    igforbes said:
    williamh said:
    ….
    i think glucose monitoring  will have the greatest impact on diabetics but I can imagine it would be very helpful for everyone. (Maybe I do not need to have another piece of pie.)
    if your endocrine system works the way it should, it won’t matter how many pieces of pie you eat. 

    While an exciting technology, for managing diabetes there are some issues that need to be addressed. 

    What does one do while your watch is charging?  Do you need two watches?

    As much as I love my watch, I can’t imagine wearing it 24/7/365.

    How often is blood glucose being checked?  Is it every 5 minutes or (more likely) an on-demand function. Continuous would be preferable for diabetics. 
    The good thing about this kind of technology (in that it will be tied into a computing device) is that it will in all likelihood, be used in conjunction with AI and cloud computing to effectively provide an  individually focused early warning system to future problems with the endocrine system or as an identifier of possible bad food choices/habits. 

    That makes it perfect for healthy people and diabetics alike or anyone who simply wants an indicator of overall health and basic advice on how to manage sugar related issuesm

    With the possible exception of stress, 'sugar' related chronic inflammation is way up there on the list of major health problems with all kinds of associated diseases and cause of premature death.

    In my particular case 24/7 would be perfect but, as you say, there is the charging time to take into account.

    I would probably opt for night use to try and detect low glucose levels during sleep, then wait for a second generation device and use one during the day and the other during the night. This use case isn't for me personally btw.

    Precision in itself isn't an absolute goal in this case  but a correctly calibrated device could alert the user (especially useful to diabetics) to a trend and allow them to check glucose levels in a traditional manner and catch problems 'early'. Especially useful for unstable Type 1 diabetes with associated neuropathologies. 

    Big Data and AI will prove enormously helpful in dealing with 'sugar' related issues, too.

    Currently I only use fitness bands but I would definitely move up to a full blown watch with a reasonaby reliable continuous, non-invasive blood glucose scanner. 
    Beats
  • Reply 9 of 13
    delslowdelslow Posts: 4member
    This tech has been “ready” for a while now. The problem has been making it work in darker skin people. There is no way a company like Apple would release a watch with glucose meter that would only work on “fair” skin people. 
    BeatsFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 304member
    I wonder if that ugly white box is hiding an Apple Watch prototype. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 914member
    This, if course, would be announced less than a week after I received my Dexcom G6!   Fortunately Medicare plus Supplemental made it a very simple decision to make.

    A couple of points worth mentioning from my last week.  First, the only over night issues were 2 warnings (loud beeps) for low sugars approaching 55 and one for high sugars, at 200.  Otherwise I sleep well at night and would not have needed knowing my levels.  

    During the day I find I look at my sugars frequently and have been able to keep my sugars in control and almost eliminate the use of insulin.  I also take a good, well advertised, pill that works as advertised.  By frequently looking at my sugars I am taking about 5 - 10 views an hour.  The Dexcom displays sugar levels every 5 minutes, making it easy to just glance.  That level of information encourages you to change eating habits or patterns.  A version of info on the Watch could result in the same benefits I have received with the Dexcom.  People staying on top of the data can benefit pretty easily as long as they also adjust WHAT they eat.

    BTW, having that level of information is also a good way to slowly lower your insulin levels, which can pay for these type of devices over a reasonably short time.
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Mork said:
    Star Trek Tricorder, hmmm, iPad was a 60’s Trek device, can’t wait for the warp engine…..
    I’m hoping for a Transporter, though I don’t want to wind up like Admiral Archer’s beagle.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    The laser isn’t going to be silicon based. Although a laser can be well integrated with a silicon PIC it is likely made from III-V semiconductor materials.
    watto_cobra
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