Abbott talks ‘biowearables’ as it preps CGMs for everyone

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Abbott has been talking up the potential of glucose tracking for consumers, via advanced 'biowearables', in a talk at Wired Health.

The company is the leading provider of continuous glucose monitors for diabetics – but it now has its sights on the consumer market with its forthcoming Lingo product.

Marc Taub, Divisional Vice President of Technical Operations at Abbott, spoke at the Wired Health event about the potential of minimally invasive sensors worn by non-diabetic consumers.

“Biowearables give us a window into what’s happening in our bodies in real-time to help you make decisions that will help you stay healthy, have energy and live the life you want,” he said

While tracking glucose levels is a matter of life and death for type 1 diabetics, Taub believes that doing the same for us can offer insights into energy levels, athletic performance, and daily wellbeing:

“What if we could give more people access to this window into their bodies? If we take the London Marathon coming up next month as an example, a biowearable that could measure lactate would provide insight into the runner’s personalised response to exercise,” he continued. 

“Tracking this during training to measure improvements and make changes to nutrition and training regimes could therefore help get to an optimal performance by race day.”

And it could go further than blood glucose.

On stage, Taub discussed the tracking of ketones via a biowearable, which could help people use the ketone diet more effectively, by ensuring their body stays in the zone for burning fat.

But all of this would require users to wear a skin sensor to track vitals, which would connect to the user’s smartphone. Diabetics have been doing this for years, but Abbott sees consumers also jumping on board.

We’ve seen talk of Apple getting into the non-invasive blood glucose tracking from the wrist – and Wareable has reported on trials by the likes of Movano and Afon trying to do the same.

However, these are some way off. And even when they do land, Valencell CEO Steven LeBoeuf told us that these non-invasive solutions may offer insights into trends, and not absolute glucose numbers, which are accurate enough to deliver the benefits that Taub outlined in his talk.

And LeBoeuf also praised minimally invasive CGMs, such as Abbott’s, and questioned whether 

"Some of these minimally invasive approaches, like those used by Dexcom and Abbott, have gotten so good and so low profile that diabetics love to use them. So what would non-invasive ones be used for?"

It’s clear that we’re about to see wearables (or biowearables) offer a big step forward in the level of data and insights offered to consumers. 

But Abbott will have the challenge of communicating the benefits of that data – before the chasing pack of wearables companies catch up.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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