Why blood glucose tracking would finally happen on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is an incredible health. From step tracking and sleep tracking to 24/7 heart rate monitoring and ways to take ECG and SpO2 readings, there’s not much Can not do. But blood glucose monitoring is one of the most missing features for a long time. This is a feature we’ve heard rumblings about for years and years, and according to one new report, it may finally be happening.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple recently reached “major milestones” in its effort to bring blood glucose monitoring to the Apple Watch. The company is said to have “hundreds of engineers” working on the “moon-style project” to make the Apple Watch non-invasive blood glucose monitoring. And thanks to those engineers, Apple now has a working proof of concept for the technology — a huge step toward finally bringing it to the Apple Watch for everyone.

How blood glucose monitoring might work

The back of the Apple Watch SE 2 in its protective case.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

How is Apple doing it? According to the report, Apple is using a technology called “silicon photonics” combined with “optical absorption spectroscopy” measurements. The report says it works by “lasers” to emit specific wavelengths of light into an area under the skin that contains interstitial fluid – substances that leak from capillaries – that can absorb glucose. The light is then reflected back to the sensor in a way that indicates the glucose concentration. An algorithm determines a person’s blood glucose level.”

Apple is apparently working with TSMC (the same company that manufactures its A-series chips in the iPhone) to create its own custom silicon for these photonic chips.

As it stands now, the proof-of-concept device developed by Apple is about the size of an iPhone and worn on someone’s arm. A previous version of the prototype was so large that it required a laptop to operate. Apple has a lot of work left to get the technology to fit inside the chassis of the Apple Watch, but this is still a significant step forward in a technology that many people are anxiously awaiting.

When is this coming to the Apple Watch?

Apple Watch Series 5 40mm compared to Apple Watch Series 7 45mm on the wrist
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

So, we’ll probably still have a while to go before blood glucose tracking is actually available on the Apple Watch. Apple is said to now see the feature as “viable” and is actively working to make it suitable for the wearable footprint, but that will require a lot of additional work and time.

That means we shouldn’t expect blood glucose monitoring in the Apple Watch Series 9 later this year, and probably not in the eventual Series 10. Could it be ready in 2025? 2026 maybe? Maybe! But this early, it is difficult to say with any certainty.

And while we’re still waiting for blood glucose monitoring to be available on the Apple Watch, don’t forget that many other companies are also working on non-invasive blood glucose tracking on wearables. Last September, a research team at Kennesaw State University developed a blood glucose tracking sensor operating with a 90% accuracy rating. We’ve also seen similar work from Samsung, Rockley Photonics, and others.

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