Apple reportedly developing non-invasive glucose monitor

CNBC’s Christina Farr has reported that Apple has been quietly developing a non-invasive, sensor-based glucose monitor.  The technology has apparently advanced to the trial stage.

Diabetes has become a global epidemic.  Continuous monitoring, automatic insulin delivery, and the “artificial pancreas” are significant steps forward, meant to control the disease, and avoid its debilitating side effects.  While some systems consist of micro-needles just below the skin, to date, none are totally non-invasive.

The ideal solution would be the use of the Apple Watch and other fitness/lifestyle trackers to control behavior to the point that the disease is avoided entirely.  However, if diagnosed, a non-invasive glucose sensor would transform the daily life of diabetics.

Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Boston – Featuring: Joi Ito, Ed Boyden, Roz Picard, George Church, Tom Insel, John Rogers, Jamshid Ghajar, Phillip Alvelda and Nathan Intrator – September 19, 2017 at the MIT Media Lab

Wearable tracks breast cancer side effects, sleep, mood, activity

A pilot study exploring  the use of wearables in breast cancer is underway.  Polaris Health Directions and  the MD Anderson Cancer Center are using the Apple Watch to  track multiple factors, increase engagement, and provide immediate feedback and interventions.

Side effects, sleep, activity levels and mood will be monitored, and combined with electronic health records and population data.

According to Polaris,  “the patient  will learn through self-discovery  how to modify  behavior, and if she finds herself in a high stress situation, our on-demand support mechanisms can provide instant assistance.”


ResearchKit can simplify, improve diagnostics

As a company devoted to improving the human condition through health innovation, ApplySci was delighted to hear yesterday’s ResearchKit announcement.  The framework allows people to easily join health studies, and simplifies the process by bringing research to one’s phone.

ResearchKit’s first tests detect Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and breast cancer.  Apple worked with 12 institutions to create the app, including some which will participate in ApplySci’s Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 conference.

Apple’s (admirable) goal is to more easily recruit research subjects, and improve accuracy by increasing sample size and diversity.  Data is captured and recorded using iPhone sensors.  Examples include:

  • An iPhone’s microphone can detect tiny voice  fluctuations that may indicate Parkinson’s disease.
  • An iPhone’s screen can detect tapping inconsistencies associated with disease.
  • An iPhone accelerometer can compare one’s gait and balance against a healthy person’s speed and posture.

Users control their own data, and decide if, how, and when to share it.   Apple will not have access to it.  The company hopes that external developers will soon dramatically increase the number of tests available.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences .  Early registration rate available until March 27th.

Apple watch will track glucose

The forthcoming Apple Watch will include the DexCom glucose tracking app.  To use it, a tiny sensor must be placed under the skin to measure glucose levels every five minutes.  Results will be displayed on the watch with a simple graph.

While DexCom has FDA approval, due to recent a recent FDA clarification on wearable devices, other health apps can be included, and this will remain a “Low Risk” device, not requiring prior marketing approval.  This is great news for both device makers and consumers, as it will inspire a proliferation of health apps.  ApplySci hopes that the competition will ensure that the most accurate health trackers become the most popular, and will continue to curate this movement with that goal.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.

Apple granted “iTime” patent

Apple‘s U.S. Patent No. 8,787,006 for a “Wrist-worn electronic device and methods therefor” describes a wearable touchscreen device that can be docked into a wrist strap, turning it into a smartwatch.  One illustration names it “iTime”.

The device connects to an iPhone, iPad or computer to access information and receive alerts.  Its  strap could contain haptic mechanisms, various sensors, biometric components, GPS modules, NFC antennas, Bluetooth packages, and/or proximity detectors.  Arm movement gestures could be used to control the watch, eliminating the need to touch the screen.

Apple patents more wearable sensors

Apple Insider reports:  “A batch of Apple patent filings published on Thursday describe a system of interconnected sensors — some being wearable devices — that work with an iPhone hub to monitor activity levels, dynamically set or cancel alarms and manage push notification settings, among other automated tasks.”

The patents include: Method and Apparatus For Personal Characterization Data Collection Using Sensors,  Method and Apparatus for Automatically Setting Alarms and Notifications, and an update to a 2010 application describing a heart rate monitor embedded in a future iOS device.  All enable the iPhone to collect data from sensors in wristbands and other wearables to track activity levels and adjust settings based on a user’s behavior.

Apple patents weightlifting tracker

Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,749,380 is a “shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods.”   

The patent describes a system where a sensor-laden device attaches to a weightlifting bar and counts and displays repetitions.  A watch for remote readings is included.  It is widely thought to be a part of an iWatch weightlifting tracker.

The device incorporates sensors, accelerometers, and processors with its display. Data can be sent wirelessly to a watch. Sensor hardware clips to fitness equipment, including bars, dumbbells and machines, and monitors movement and number of repetitions.