Non-invasive (accurate) glucose tracking has been a big dream for wearable companies, and many are currently trying to get there. The closest has been Sano, which uses interstitial fluid and has been backed by Fitbit. Now there is another.
Sweati is a new wearable device that can track glucose, lactate and hydration via low amounts of sweat. The actual wearable is made of fabric and can transit data wirelessly to a companion app on your phone.
The wearable can fit in the palm of your hand and is as thick as two credit cards. It's also disposable and, thanks to its fabric make, can contour to your hand's shape. You're also going to get continuous glucose readings, which should mean that you'll get an idea of how your glucose reacts when you drink a can of soda.
You'll also get analysis every ten seconds, and the company says that there'll be enough time for "performance tactics" - a fancy way of saying that you'll be able to manage your physical state and see the transformations in your metrics.
Sweati says that the big advantage it has over interstitial fluid systems is speed, as the sweat-to-blood lag is three times less than interstitial fluid-to-blood lag. Obviously, being able to non-invasively track glucose continuously would be a massive help to diabetics, who currently have to prick their fingers every time they want a reading.
How legit is all of this? Sweati's research partner is Imperial College London, and the company says Imperial College has demonstrated that it's possible to continually measure concentrations of glucose, lactate and hydration via low levels of sweat.
Martyn Boutelle, professor of biomedical sensors engineering at Imperial's department of bioengineering, says in a press release that Sweati uses microfluidics to measure sweat in real time. That's certainly possible, with the most mainstream example being L'OrĂ©al's My Skin Track pH to read pH levels via your sweat. However, using sweat for glucose, lactate and hydration is on a different level.
Back in 2018, Boutelle said in a paper that trials were underway to analyze the potential to use sweat ions as a way to track glucose, lactate and hydration. Founder James Mayo tells Wareable that the study Boutelle is referring to already happened, though Sweati doesn't yet want to reveal the resulting research paper so as to not compromise intellectual property and patent secrets. It's planning a second study with "several high-profile sports teams", and will then move on to a third study that utilizes parts of the UK and US militaries.
While Sweati could have a path forward to achieve the wearable holy grail, it still seems like it has a long road ahead to being able to sell a continuous, non-invasive glucose tracker to the masses.