Image source: Rockley Photonics

Rockley Photonics clinic-on-the-wrist might be built into a future Apple Watch

Rockley Photonics has unveiled today its game-changing health monitoring wearable to be used in trial studies. It can track core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, glucose trends and much more from the wrist. There is a good chance the tech will be incorporated in future Apple Watches and other fitness trackers and smartwatches.

We wrote a few months ago about Rockley Photonics. They’ve developed sensor tech that has the potential to change the health and fitness wearable industry from the ground up. And that’s putting it lightly. Best of all, all this should could come as soon as next year.


Clinic-on-the-wrist

The tech works by utilising a unique spectrometer-on-a-chip platform. Rockley have managed to shrink down the size of a regular spectrometer and increase the signal-to-noise ratio as compared to a full size machine.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

This allows it to capture a wider range of health data than typical sensors built into fitness trackers and smartwatches, non-invasively, continuously and with clinical grade precision. The last of these is something that is (for the most part), not possible currently.

The main improvement on today’s sensor technology is that, in addition to the visible spectrum, Rockley sensors can capture higher wavelengths on the invisible spectrum. This allows them to measure a wider range of absorption peaks and additional biomarkers.

In essence, these are the same green light-emitting diodes that are used by heart rate sensors today. But they are upgraded to use a much broader-spectrum of light sources. Rockley says the sensor “analyzes blood, interstitial fluids, and various layers of the dermis for constituents and physical phenomena of interest.”

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Reverse side (skin side) of wristband

What does this mean in real life?

It means that the sensor can capture data on blood oxygen, hydration, heart rate, heart rate variability, core body temperature, breath rate, blood pressure, alcohol levels, carbon monoxide, glucose and lactate – all with clinical grade precision. Plus it has the potential to identify diseases at an early stage. It sounds almost too good to be true.

You can read more about the tech on this link. We go into detail on various modules that are expected to launch.


Digital health sensor

Today, Rockley unveiled the first pictures of the upcoming sensor and wrist wearable. It’s not exactly a looker, by keep in mind that this is a first generation product that will be used in trial studies. And don’t forget the incredible range of biomarkers it will be able to track.

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Wristband to be used in human studies

The wrist wearable houses the sensor which communicates with the accompanying Rockley smartphone app. The company says the gizmo will be used in a series of human studies over the next few months.

“Our full-stack sensor solution, which brings together optical and electronic hardware, firmware, algorithms, and cloud-based analytics, is an exciting milestone on our roadmap,” said Dr. Andrew Rickman, chief executive officer and founder of Rockley Photonics.

“Our reference designs will significantly aid our customers and partners with the deployment of our technology and accelerate their own scalable, high-volume product delivery.”


Might we see the tech in a future Apple Watch?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. In fact, the Cupertino-based outfit is Rockley’s largest customer. And it’s not the only one. Samsung, Zepp Health, Withings and others are also said to be actively working with the company on the next generation tech.

Rockley says it is initially targeting the consumer electronics market (fitness trackers, smartwatches, etc), before moving on to medical device companies. In March, the company entered into an agreement to combine with publicly traded SC Health Corp.

No dates are mentioned in today’s press release on when we might actually see the tech. But an Investor Presentation published by SC Health Corp in March 2021 reveals this is planned for early 2022. Makes you think twice on whether its a good idea to purchase that Apple Watch 7 this September!

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