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Apple is developing diabetes glucose tracking for the Apple Watch

Apple is developing diabetes glucose tracking for the Apple Watch

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Apple is developing a glucose-tracking smartwatch

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Apple is reportedly on the verge of developing a non-invasive glucose test for diabetics through a new sensor on its Apple Watch. The technology has been in the works since 2010, when then-Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs acquired RareLight, a small startup developing ideas for noninvasive blood glucose monitoring.

The technology may be years away, but if approved, sources told Bloomberg that it will measure glucose levels in diabetics but could also be used as a preventive measure, with the aim of being able to warn people with pre-diabetics as well. Apple uses a chip technology called silicon photonics combined with absorption spectroscopy, which measures reflected light, to determine blood sugar levels.

Apple Watch is fast becoming a health monitoring tool, with features like heart rate monitor, fitness tracker, body temperature sensors, blood oxygen assessment and health tracking for women.

Although the test data for Apple’s latest effort to calculate glucose levels hasn’t been peer-reviewed, sources told Bloomberg it’s in the proof-of-concept phase. Sources also told the outlet that the technology is too big at this point and it needs to be smaller to be used in a wearable device.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 10 Americans in the United States will be diagnosed with diabetes. Currently, they can control their condition by pricking their finger to test their blood sugar levels or by putting patches made by Dexcom or Abbott Laboratories on their skin.

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Apple’s goal of developing noninvasive technology has the potential to offer a more convenient option to some of the more than 37 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the US alone. However, the company’s data would need to be independently evaluated before its glucose technology could be released to the public.

RareLight founder Bob Messerschmidt told Bloomberg that this wouldn’t have been possible if Apple hadn’t bought RareLight more than a decade ago. The deal ultimately came about, he said, because “Job’s vision is of healthcare combined with technology.”

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