Apple is conducting secret research that could ultimately lead to a major breakthrough in how diabetics test their blood sugar levels. The work is geared toward creating a sensor capable of non-invasively monitoring blood sugar levels. This could spell good news to nearly half a billion people suffering from diabetes all over the world. The device is simply capable of non-invasively monitoring blood sugar levels, and this would greatly improve their lives since monitoring is the biggest problem of diabetics. Diabetics regularly have to go through the laborious and uncomfortable procedure of pricking their finger to test their blood sugar levels, or have a glucose monitor embedded beneath their skin.
A non-invasive sensor that can perform the same function would be a significant step forward for the medical industry as well as hugely beneficial for all diabetics. Such a device apparently involves the use of optical sensors with a light that shines through the skin to measure blood sugar levels. It can thus act as a constant monitor and flag when levels drop too low, a situation that can turn extremely serious for a diabetic if not quickly addressed. As of last year, Apple reportedly had around 30 individuals, including a small team of biomedical engineers, conducting the research at a discreet location in Palo Alto, just a few miles from Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters.
The research is reported to have begun at least five years ago after Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, expressed an interest in the idea. Based on independent reports, Apple seems to be making real progress toward its goal, with feasibility trials reportedly already taking place at clinical sites in and around San Francisco. Consultants have also been hired to examine regulatory issues related to the new technology.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted back in 2015 that the company was working on some kind of new medical-related technology and since then Apple has posted several job ads for biomedical engineers and other similar positions. At the same time, Cook suggested that the new technology might not be incorporated into the Apple Watch because he didn’t want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. A watch is a watch while a blood sugar monitor must land as a standalone device.
Other tech firms however, are known to have been carrying out similar research. Google, for instance, since 2014, has been working on developing a smart contact lens capable of measuring blood sugar levels, and a year later it revealed it was also working with glucose monitoring company Dexcom to develop a wearable monitor. To create this kind of technology is clearly a monumental challenge, but if Apple is already testing out its work, it may not be too long before the company reveals precisely what it’s been up to for the benefit of diabetics.