Apple CEO Tim Cook has been seen testing a new wearable device that tracks blood sugar and is connected to the Apple Watch.
CNBC reported that Cook was spotted at the Apple campus wearing a prototype blood-glucose monitoring device connected to the Apple Watch.
The report follows previous news of Apple hiring a small team of biomechanical engineers to develop sensors which monitor the body’s blood sugar levels. The team are reportedly working on non-invasive sensors which wouldn’t require users to prick their skin for blood testing. The technology would reportedly use optical sensors to measure glucose levels by shining a light through the skin.
The device aligns with Apple’s move into the health market in which it has placed its Watch Series. The company recently acquired sleep monitoring company Beddit to potentially bolster its offering of sleep monitoring software.
Reports of a non-invasive glucose monitor would place the company in a unique position within the wearables market. Wearables have typically been used to monitor general fitness, but a glucose monitoring system would be beneficial for all users, especially diabetics.
In February Cook talked to students at the University of Glasgow about glucose monitoring, saying: “I’ve been wearing a continuous glucose monitor for a few weeks,” he said. “I just took it off before coming on this trip.”
He continued to discuss the problems diabetic people face everyday in just monitoring their blood levels: “It’s mentally anguishing to stick yourself many times a day to check your blood sugar,” he said. “There is lots of hope out there that if someone has constant knowledge of what they’re eating, they can instantly know what causes the response… and that they can adjust well before they become diabetic.”
Despite furthering its position in the wearables and medical market, Apple has iterated in the past that it wants to avoid FDA regulation. Speaking about FDA Cook said: “We don’t want to put the watch through the FDA process. I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it — maybe an app, maybe something else.”
Considering this the company’s work surrounding blood sugar levels will likely be an integrated device that lets the Watch avoid classifying itself as a medical device.