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Rumor: Apple is developing optical sensors to monitor blood sugar levels

By Bryan Chan & Cookie Monster - on 18 Apr 2017, 9:58am

Rumor: Apple is developing optical sensors to monitor blood sugar levels

Aside from getting approval for testing its self-driving car technology, Apple is also reportedly expanding into the medical field. 

According to CNBC, Apple has a team of 30 biomedical engineers working on sensors to monitor blood sugar levels. Sources told CNBC that the work has been going on for at least five years. The team has begun conducting feasibility trials at clinical locations and hired consultants to navigate the complex health regulatory processes. 

The optical sensors can shine a light through the skin to measure indications of glucose, which is somewhat similar to the way photodiode sensors, green and infrared LEDs on the back of the Apple Watch are used to measure heart rate. 

John L. Smith, a biomedical expert, shared with CNBC that the accurate measurement of glucose levels is "the most difficult technical challenge" he has encountered in his career. If Apple succeeds, it will benefit million of diabetic patients as they have an easier way of monitoring their blood sugar. 

The technology could be integrated with the Apple Watch and open up new market segments for the smart watch. Tim Bajarin from TIME shared last year that the main focus of the Apple Watch is actually health and he believes the Apple Watch will bridge the gap between patients and their healthcare providers. The medical field has also been identified as a potential market for Apple as it battles the slowdown in sales of smartphones and tablets. 

Source: CNBC via The Verge