Samsung, Apple Race to Make Blood Sugar Technology

Almost exactly a year ago, we wrote about Apple’s aim to make a blood sugar tracker that didn’t have to prick the skin. They want to make a noninvasive blood sugar monitor to make life easier. When we wrote about it, we questioned how much it would cost, if insurance would help pay for it, how precise it would be and much more. We don’t have answers a year later, but another company is entering the field.

Samsung hopes to make a noninvasive blood sugar and continuous blood pressure checker. It would come in the form of a Galaxy Watch or Galaxy Ring.

Samsung “aims to eventually give consumers a complete picture of their well-being via sensors on different parts of the body and around the home.” They hope to bring a Ring health sensor to the market by the end of the year and one that tracks blood sugar and pressure within five years. Like the Galaxy Watch already on the market, the Galaxy Ring will not be compatible with iPhones. According to the company, the benefit of a health tracker in the form of a ring instead of a watch is that some people find it more comfortable and less intrusive.

The big hurdle comes from accuracy. If a heart rate monitor on a smartwatch is slightly wrong, your exercise tracker might be incorrect. If your blood sugar monitor is inaccurate, it could lead to significantly larger problems. The stakes are higher for wearable technology that tracks blood sugar. It would have to be approved by the FDA. It will move the technology away from being a fitness tracker and into the realm of medical technology, making it far more regulated.

The good news for consumers is that having two companies fighting to be the first-to-market should speed things up. As Samsung and Apple are now in a race, they feel pressure. Before, it seemed like Apple had just spotted a way to make money. Now that the market is being fought over, the two companies should work faster to achieve the end goal.

The first generation of this product will probably be expensive. And it’s unlikely insurance will cover it unless it’s remarkably accurate and offers huge benefits we don’t know of yet. But time will tell. Having more than one company working on noninvasive blood sugar readers could spur a massive industry-wide race. Ten years from now, people may be wearing a wide variety of Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Nokia health trackers that all read blood sugar accurately and can be bought at Walmart. We will keep our fingers crossed!    

Banner image: Samsung

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