Glucose Monitoring Gets an Upgrade

Rockley Photonics

Glucose monitoring might be coming to a smartwatch near you.

What’s happening: A long-awaited feature, noninvasive glucose monitoring may be the next frontier of wearable tech. To date, however, manufacturers have hit snags in production.

A new development, Apple sensor supplier Rockley Photonics is rolling out VitalSpex, a biosensing platform that can noninvasively monitor glucose, alcohol, and lactate.

A bigger deal, the manufacturer said it delivered the sensors to an “early-access, tier-1 consumer wearables customer.”

Apple, is that you? ​​A Rockley Photonics regular, Apple has long been rumored to be developing glucose monitoring capabilities.

Setting its sights on transforming healthcare, Apple has piloted primary care services, developed digital health software, and doubled down on health hardware (mainly via Watch). Adding on blood sugar tracking would lock down its wearable dominance.

Across all form factors, next-gen wearables are scaling up:

  • Biolinq, maker of noninvasive glucose-monitoring devices, secured $100M last November.
  • Epicore Biosystems, creator of the Gx Sweat Patch, recently acquired IP for precision sweat patches.
  • Healthcare company Abbott debuted its consumer biowearables earlier this year, called Lingo.

Punchline: Going mainstream, glucose monitoring capabilities for the Watch could bring metabolic health insights to the masses. Another scenario, depending on who signed for the Rockley shipment, a competitor may be gaining the edge it needs to finally topple Apple in the wrist wars.