The next Samsung smartwatch, and Apple Watch Series 7, could debut blood glucose tracking in 2021, according to a new report.
Chinese website ETnews has reported that Samsung is lining up wearable glucose monitoring sensors, developed in conjunction with MIT.
And it says that the feature will launch with the Galaxy Watch 4 (or possibly Galaxy Watch Active 3) at its Unpacked 2021 event in the second half of the year.
ETNews also alleges that Apple is also getting involved in the glucose monitoring game – and reports that it’s testing “reliability and stability” before a launch.
So how likely is this to come to fruition? We’ve reported rumors on blood glucose tracking for years – including news that Apple had assembled a team of scientists and was trialling glucose tracking from the Apple Watch back in 2017.
A non-invasive, wearable sensor could be a game changer for diabetics – as well as performance athletes – and it’s said to be a passion point for both Tim Cook and Steve Jobs before his death.
Samsung has moved to include blood pressure monitoring on its Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 smartwatches – although it’s not received clearance from the FDA, so the feature isn’t fully active outside of South Korea.
But its close relationship with South Korean regulators and track record of getting medical features to smartwatches first and working on approval later means it has every chance of delivering.
It seems unlikely that Apple would launch the feature without FDA approval – just like it did with ECG – which means clinical trials. We have seen some Apple glucose monitoring patents land for technology called absorption spectroscopy.
But accurate, FDA-approved blood glucose monitoring will not be easy.
Back in 2017 the CEO of Valencell – an optical heart rate sensor company that’s been working hard on wrist-based blood pressure – told Wareable that non-invasive blood glucose tracking “would never happen”.
"It is completely impossible to have a truly non-invasive glucose monitor," Valencell CEO Steven LeBoeuf told Wareable
There have been a handful of non-invasive blood glucose innovations this year, but crucially none have received approval from regulators.
Could Apple and Samsung be about to do the impossible? As ever, we will be following developments closely.
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