K’Watch is a device that measures glucose painlessly

A French health tech startup PKvitality is looking to launch of a $150 smartwatch that will allow you to monitors glucose levels without taking any blood.

With 415 million people affected, 1 in 11 worldwide, diabetes is progressing rapidly. It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputation and causes millions of deaths every year.

Non-invasive glucose monitoring is considered to be the holy grail of diabetes treatment. Many companies have tried and failed to come up with something, and diabetes patients still have no accurate alternatives to tracking glucose by piercing the skin. Some diabetics still resort to logging their results using pen and paper.

Essential reading: Smart Glucometres, high tech options for monitoring your blood sugar

There is no shortage of rumours that Apple is looking to upgrade its smartwatch with sensors to monitor glucose non-invasively. Whether this is built into the watch itsself or into its strap, or whether this ends up being a totally separate device remains to be seen. Tim Cook has even been spotted with a portable glucose monitor prototype earlier this year. We sincerely doubt that we will see this in Apple Watch 3 which is due for release in a few months time.

Shown off at CES 2017 at the start of the year, K’Watch Glucose was among about two dozen products designated a winner of the show’s Best of Innovation Award. Utilizing a revolutionary biosensor, the device works by “tasting” the skin rather than taking blood samples.

Their proprietary system is composed of biosensors that use micro-needles to probe interstitial fluid for bio-chemical analysis. While the user will feel the slight pressure of the probe pressing on their skin, they feel absolutely no pain as the sensor never reaches any nerve or blood vessel.

The technology is housed in something the company calls K’apsul. One of these is good for a month before it needs to be changed, and you can take unlimited measurements during this period. Its worth noting, glucose is not recorded automatically or continuously. A user needs to press K’Watch on the skin for a measurement to be taken.

Results are displayed on the K’Watch Glucose screen as well as synced to the accompanying app. The device can also send alerts to remind users to check their glucose level. And you get some standard fitness tracking functions as well such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burnt.

“K’Track Glucose is the first accurate non-blood-based glucose monitor to be built directly into a wearable device,” said PKvitality in a press release.

“It combines the elegance and utility of traditional activity trackers with the life-changing information of a medical device.”

In addition to the watch, the technology also comes in the form of an armband. Dubbed K’Watch Athlete, this is a more expensive version that allows athletes to monitor the lactic acid level in real time. K’Watch Athlete also allows for continuous measurement of glucose. Users just need to decide the recording interval between each measurement.

K’Track Glucose starts at $150, K’Track Athlete at $200 and each removable K’apsul will set you back $100. Unfortunately, this is not something that you will be able to pick up in the store in a few weeks time.

If all goes well, first deliveries will start by the end of 2018, once the medical certification process is out of the way. To speed up the process and raise additional funds, PKvitality have recently launched a crowdfunding campaign. Its been very successful so far, having raised more than €700,000.

While you are waiting for a non-invasive glucose monitoring device to reach the consumer market, check out some high tech solutions for tracking a person’s blood sugar levels.

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