You Can Soon Check Your Glucose Levels Without a Prick Thanks to Apple - medtigo



You Can Soon Check Your Glucose Levels Without a Prick Thanks to Apple

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp



Apple Inc. has been working on a moonshot-style project since the time of Steve Jobs: noninvasive and continuous blood glucose monitoring. As per Bloomberg, the objective of this classified project, codenamed E5, is to assess the amount of glucose in a person’s body without drawing blood. According to those familiar with the endeavor, the company now believes it will be able to bring glucose monitoring to market after achieving recent important milestones.  

If completed, this innovation would be a godsend for diabetics and further Apple’s position as a healthcare giant. The ultimate goal is to add a monitoring system to the Apple Watch, which would make it an indispensable device for millions of diabetics worldwide.  

There are still years of work ahead, but the move could disrupt an industry worth billions of dollars. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and to obtain a blood sample, they commonly use a device that punctures the skin. In addition, there are patches from Dexcom Inc. and Abbott Laboratories that are applied to the skin but must be renewed every two weeks.  

Apple uses a semiconductor technology known as silicon photonics and a measurement technique known as optical absorption spectroscopy to take a new approach. The technology employs lasers to transmit certain wavelengths of light into an area beneath the skin containing glucose-absorbable interstitial fluid – chemicals that leak out of capillaries. The light is subsequently reflected back to the sensor in a manner that displays the glucose concentration. A subsequent algorithm determines the individual’s blood glucose level.  

Hundreds of engineers are working on the project as part of Apple’s Experimental Design Group, or XDG, a previously unknown initiative comparable to Google Inc.’s X division. It is one of Apple’s notoriously clandestine projects. Even fewer employees are involved than in the company’s self-driving car project, which is managed by the Special Projects Group, or in the development of its mixed-reality headgear by its Technological Development Group.  

On Wednesday, the revelation weighed on the stock of diabetic technology companies, with Dexcom and Abbott plunging more than 3 percent before recovering. New York’s closing price for Apple was $148.91, up 0.3%.  

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, declined to comment. Abbott, according to a company spokeswoman, is also developing new glucose monitoring solutions. Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel stated, “Continued innovation in health technology is vital.” “It is also difficult and must be accurate, simple, and cost-effective. Our FreeStyle Libre products meet these requirements, making Abbott the global leader in continuous glucose monitoring.  

Throughout the past decade, Apple has tested its glucose technology on hundreds of individuals. In human trials, the approach has been used to individuals with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, as well as those who are unsure if they have diabetes. It has compared its own technology to routine testing on blood extracted from veins and capillary blood samples taken from a pinprick on the skin.  


Apple’s technology, which has been under development for more than 12 years, has reached the proof-of-concept level, according to individuals who requested anonymity because the project is private. The corporation feels that the technology is workable, but that it must be made more manageable.  

Engineers are developing a prototype device approximately the size of an iPhone that can be worn on the forearm. Compared to an earlier version of the device that rested on a table, this would be a significant reduction.  

One of Apple’s ambitions with the technology is to develop a prophylactic measure that alerts individuals if they have prediabetes. Individuals could then make lifestyle adjustments to avoid acquiring Type 2 diabetes, which happens when the body improperly utilizes insulin. Apple’s regulatory team has already undertaken preliminary discussions over the system’s government approval.  

But there is a reason why this objective is called a moonshot. Several startups and some of the world’s top corporations have unsuccessfully attempted to create a noninvasive monitoring system. In 2014, Google announced ambitions to develop intelligent contact lenses capable of measuring blood glucose via teardrops. In 2018, the complex project was abandoned.  

Apple’s senior executives think they are uniquely positioned to solve this problem, given the company’s experience in hardware and software integration and its vast financial resources. According to those with knowledge of the matter, CEO Tim Cook, COO Jeff Williams, and Apple Watch hardware chief Eugene Kim are all involved in the initiative, which has already cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  

The Apple Watch has progressively evolved into a health instrument. The initial model, released in 2015, featured a heart-rate sensor but was primarily geared on fitness tracking. In 2018, the device received the capability to collect electrocardiograms (ECGs) from the wrist. Moreover, it can now compute blood oxygen levels and detect body temperature for women’s health monitoring.  

The glucose system will rely on an array of silicon photonics processors and sensors built by Apple. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was contracted by the firm to manufacture the feature’s key chip. TSMC, an important Apple partner, already manufactures the primary CPUs in iPhones, iPads, and Macs.  

Before to switching to TSMC, Apple collaborated with Rockley Photonics Holdings Ltd. to develop the technology’s sensors and chip. In 2021, Rockley unveiled its collaboration with Apple, generating interest in the provider. Apple eventually terminated the deal, and Rockley declared bankruptcy last month.  

While Apple has achieved significant technological advances on the glucose project, it has just suffered a setback: the group’s chief, the eminent scientist and engineering executive Bill Athas, died suddenly at the end of 2022. Some of Athas’s top deputies, including managers Dave Simon and Jeff Koller, are now in charge of the project. They report to Apple’s chief of chips, Johny Srouji.  

Before being a part of the XDG team, the project was shrouded in even greater secrecy: it operated as its own firm, Avolonte Health LLC, which was unaffiliated with Apple to any outside observer.  

The company was headquartered in a tiny office building in Palo Alto, approximately 12 miles from Apple’s headquarters. Team members had Avolonte employee badges as opposed to Apple employee badges. This technique concealed Apple’s work during human testing, as well as its efforts to get patents and form partnerships.  

Apple initiated the initiative in 2010 when it acquired the startup RareLight, which boasted an innovative method to noninvasive blood glucose monitoring. Steve Jobs, who had his own health issues, authorized the iPhone manufacturer to acquire the company. Apple recruited RareLight’s founder, Bob Messerschmidt, to initiate its own development on a glucose monitor, first designated E68. Messerschmidt now serves as the CEO of Cor Health.  

In an interview, he explained that the acquisition ultimately occurred due to “Jobs’s vision of health care mixed with technology.” According to participants, former senior Apple hardware executives Bob Mansfield and Michael Culbert were also significant factors behind the initiative. 

Messerschmidt was succeeded as project leader by Apple veteran Michael Hillman in 2011, who departed in 2015. Upon his departure, Avolonte Health ceased operations and became a division of Athas’ XDG. The team currently resides close to the Apple Park headquarters. 


Free CME credits

Both our subscription plans include Free CME/CPD AMA PRA Category 1 credits.

Digital Certificate PDF

On course completion, you will receive a full-sized presentation quality digital certificate.

medtigo Simulation

A dynamic medical simulation platform designed to train healthcare professionals and students to effectively run code situations through an immersive hands-on experience in a live, interactive 3D environment.

medtigo Points

medtigo points is our unique point redemption system created to award users for interacting on our site. These points can be redeemed for special discounts on the medtigo marketplace as well as towards the membership cost itself.
  • Registration with medtigo = 10 points
  • 1 visit to medtigo’s website = 1 point
  • Interacting with medtigo posts (through comments/clinical cases etc.) = 5 points
  • Attempting a game = 1 point
  • Community Forum post/reply = 5 points

    *Redemption of points can occur only through the medtigo marketplace, courses, or simulation system. Money will not be credited to your bank account. 10 points = $1.

All Your Certificates in One Place

When you have your licenses, certificates and CMEs in one place, it's easier to track your career growth. You can easily share these with hospitals as well, using your medtigo app.

Our Certificate Courses