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Glucose tracking K’Watch has entered clinicial trial. This is the final step before certification and retail availability. The device is not exactly non-invasive, but it is blood-free.
There’s lots of talk about new sensors arriving in 2022. These will apparently be able to track your glucose non-invasively by utilizing green light technology at higher wavelengths as compared to the current crop of fitness trackers and smartwatches. Whether we actually see this remains to be seen.
However, a French health tech startup PKvitality is close to releasing its own glucose tracking wrist device. This is a $199 smartwatch that will allow you to monitor 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.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
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. We are nearly into 2022 and that’s not good enough!
Initially 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. It actually sticks to the skin and this helps to keep it in place.
The technology is housed in something the company calls K’apsul. One of these is good for a week before it needs to be changed, and you can take unlimited measurements during this period. Presumably users will have the option to decide the recording interval between each measurement. According to the support page, readings are taken every 5 minutes by default.
Results are displayed on the K’Watch Glucose screen as well as synced to the accompanying iOS or Android 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, heart rate, sleep 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.
Price and availability
Once available K’Watch Glucose will sell for $199 and a month supply of K’apsul will set you back $99. There’s no price listed yet for K’Track Athlete.
Unfortunately, this is not something that you will be able to pick up in the store in a few weeks time. The device has recently entered clinical trial on 35 patients with Type 1 and 2 of diabetes and this is scheduled to conclude in June 2022. The aim is to assess the degree of compliance with the accuracy section of the FDA Class II Integrated continuous glucose monitoring (iCGM) requirements.
If all goes well K’Watch Glucose will launch in the latter part of 2022 or early 2023. It will require necessary medical certifications so the release date will vary from region to region. The project has been financed by more than €10 million, which should hopefully help push it through the finish line. Part of this money came from a grant and equity investment from the European Commission through the EIC (European Innovation Council) fund.
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