Applehas hired a group of biomedical researchers to work on a secret project to monitor diabetic patients using sensors, according to a CNBC report.
An estimated 371 million people have the disease worldwide and in the last few years, several tech companies have been trying to come up with better solutions to help those afflicted. Virtais a newly launched startup tackling type 2 diabetes that promises to completely cure patients by remotely monitoring behaviors. Livongo Health is another startup in the Bay Area that just raised $52.5 million to launch its blood sugar monitoring product.
Normally, patients monitor their glucose by pricking themselves to get a blood sample so not having to do that any more would be a real game-changer. One person told CNBC Apple is developing optical sensors that shine a light through the skin to measure glucose.
However, others have tried to come up with technology to bypass prickingbefore and its proven tough to do. Alphabets life science company Verily has also tried to take on the disease with a smart contact lensthat measures blood glucose levels through the eye but some reports suggest the now three-year-old project isnt going well.
But Apples project has been going on for at least five years, according to the report, and is now to the point where its ready to conduct feasibility trials. Apple has also reportedly hired consultants to help it jump through the inevitable regulatory hoops as well.
The team is said to be made up of Johny Srouji, Apples senior vice president of hardware technologies and possibly 30 other people at least a dozen of whom could have come from a frenzy of hires Apple made from the biomedical field, including companies like ZONARE, Vital Connect, Sano and Medtronic.
While we cant confirm details of the project with Apple (weve reached out but have not heard back yet), it would fit well with one of the companys earlier visions. Steve Jobs believed Apple would one day be at the intersection of technology and biology, according to Walter Isaacsonsbiographyof him. The Apple Watch is already there, counting steps, calories burned, taking our heart rate and other biological measures.Add on a sensor you can take with you wherever you go and able to detect glucose levels without drawing blood and youve officially transformed an entire industry.