We’ve been talking for a long time about the possibility of an Apple Watch capable of measuring blood sugar. A system which, both because of its implications and because of its need to be non-intrusive, it costs more to develop than we might expect.
A feature that will come, but is still in development
Rumors about this important feature have been around for a long time, probably since the days of the first Apple Watch. Back then those were more guesses than real rumorsbut about a year ago those rumors were gaining much more force.
We were in February 2021 and the rumor was dedicated, among other things, to the Apple Watch Series 7. There was talk of important changes in this version, design changes, which later did not take place, accompanied by a brand new array of sensors. Sources like Mark Gurman have talked about the possibility of smart wristbands and even the Wall Street Journal told us about Apple’s own medical center.
As is the case today with the Apple Watch Series 8, rumors of blood sugar measurement were on the agenda, but there was a turning point: a patent. Apple patented a system that, using electromagnetic waves, could calculate the amount of glucose in the blood. At the time, we said it like this:
“Given these limitations, Apple offers a system for emitting electromagnetic radiation at the terahertz (THz) frequency. This system emits a beam in the direction of an object and collects the reading. In this reading, the absorption aspect of the analyzed object is collected. This data, when fed to a carefully trained machine learning engine, is able to infer the amount of sugar in the blood.
“Regarding the radiation, the patent details that it is not ionizing due to its very low energy and can only generate a thermal effect very similar to what is already happening with current phones. A guarantee important in which, for everything else, It is a fairly new technology and yet to be explored.
A technology that, without a doubt, looks very attractive. Usually a patent requires some features in order to be registered. There’s also no need for a 100% working prototype, but neither does it appear from the text of the document that Apple was patenting an idea.
Apple continues to ramp up medical hiring.
Now, a year later, we’re in a similar situation to 2021. Gurman says “breakthrough” sensors for the Apple Watch are still years away. Moreover, to our knowledge, little visible progress has been made. What we do know is that Apple concentrates many resources to make the Apple Watch a device focused on health.
If we have seen the arrival of functions as specific as the ECG, with impressive precision, it must be added, it is only a matter of time before we see new features. In this sense, we must remember how much hiring in the medical field has accelerated, both in hardware and software.
Given what has been seen, with the hindsight that time allows, it seems that we will have to wait a little longer to see the blood sugar measurement on the Apple Watch. It is also true that since it is a measure that could well arrive without too specialized hardware, we could see the announcement almost by surprise, but, as we have already said, it seems that there are still a few generations of Apple Watch.