Apple is one step closer to developing a non-invasive blood glucose monitoring solution. A patent application published on Thursday offers clues into how such technology could be built into the Apple Watch.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
As discovered by Apple Insider, the application was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It describes an optical system where a ‘compact, portable device’ is equipped with sensors and other technology that’s capable of performing absorption spectroscopy.
By applying light with known properties to a substance, the substance will absorb energy based on the wavelengths emitted. This in turn will cause the light properties to change upon exit. The difference can then be used to calculate how concentrated a substance is. To deal with potential accuracy issues, the technology will incorporate a host of specialised light emitters, filters, beamsplitters, short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) detectors and other components.
Apple has long had an interest in developing a solution for non-invasive glucose monitoring. The company’s quest to develop the sensors was motivated by Steve Jobs’s own troubles, who in the final years of his life was coping with diabetes as well as cancer.
Many companies have spent years trying to crack the problem but we’ve yet to see real-world success. For the most part diabetes patients still have no accurate alternatives to tracking glucose by piercing the skin.
While the latest patent sounds promising, you will be sorely disappointed if you have any hopes the technology will make in into Apple Watch Series 4. Insiders have previously said we are still several years away before non-invasive glucose monitoring makes it into a commercial product.
You can read the full patent on this link. Its highly technical, though, so not likely to make very much sense.
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