Apple working on infrared sensors for blood glucose – could land for Series 8

Apple could go massive on health sensors next time out
Apple Watch glucose tech in testing
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The Apple Watch Series 7 may only just have launched, but the rumor mill is already turning about the Series 8.

And it seems it’s our old friend blood glucose that’s got the tech world achatter.

According to a paywalled report on DigiTimes, Apple has started testing non-invasive blood glucose tracking for use on future Apple Watch devices.

The report (via NotebookCheck), states that Ennostar and Taiwan Asia Semiconductor are developing the tech.

It looks to be an infrared sensor which uses “wavelengths above 1,000 nm” and a photodiode to interpret blood glucose levels.

The sensor would also be able to handle heart rate and blood oxygen data too.

Blood glucose is a huge focus for wearable tech companies – and very few make a secret of their interest. Fitbit and Amazfit have spoken to us on the record about their interest in glucose tracking.

Apple has been filing glucose patents since 2018, and was linked to Rockley Photonics, which has developed a reference platform it says is capable of non-invasively tracking 'glucose trends.'

And that’s because the potential for diabetics to non-invasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels is massive.

But glucose data could also be interesting for tracking the effect of what we eat, ensure we’re eating at the right times, and for those training for endurance sport.

But will it land for the Series 8? Despite having a whole year to work on it – we’re pretty sceptical.

Firstly, to get this technology working reliably is hugely difficult. But for it to arrive on a smartwatch, it will need to get the approval of the FDA and other regulatory bodies. And with something as complex as blood glucose tracking, that could take a long time.

Of course, Apple could release an infrared sensor on the Series 8 and then switch on glucose monitoring when it clears the FDA, just like it did when ECG was released on the Series 4.

So as ever – watch this space.