Apple Is Working On A New Terahertz Radiation Sensor for Non-invasive Glucose Monitoring

Apple is one of the companies that always invests a lot of time and research into its products and that is also one of the reasons why Apple products are so good and reliable. Another great innovation idea from Apple is circling the internet. Apparently, Apple is working on a new terahertz radiation sensor that could do non-invasive glucose monitoring.

Apple Working On A New Terahertz Radiation Sensor

The news about Apple working on a new terahertz radiation sensor came after a series of new patent applications. It suggests that Apple might add the feature to monitor glucose using terahertz electromagnetic radiation without drawing any blood on a future Apple Watch.

There have been some reports around the internet that also suggest that this new non-invasive glucose monitoring feature will come on the Apple Watch Series 7. That means, the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 will have the ability to monitor your glucose levels without having to draw blood from your body which is quite fascinating.

Four Patents that Point to Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring

Non-invasive glucose monitoring technology is an area that a lot of medical companies have been working too. It is one of the areas that Apple has been doing research for some time now. A series of four related new patent applications have been revealed now and they all point to the same technology for the upcoming Apple Watch.   

Well, if you look at the patent applications, none of them mention the word glucose or blood sugar or something related. Although, they all indicate systems using absorption spectroscopy which is all the other system proposals use for non-invasive glucose monitoring.

The main new patent application is, “Terahertz Spectroscopy and Imaging Dynamic Environments with Performance Enhancements Using Ambient Sensors”. While the other three are related to different variations of the same. All four patents are credited to the same group of investors and all four are concerned with using an electromagnetic wave as part of the system.

Problems With Previous Technologies

You see that there are some other technologies as well for this purpose. As previous proposals have been related to implementations of using light to detect “gas, health/quality of liquid or solid materials”, but Apple makes a very typical Apple argument here and says that there are limitations with these technologies. There are concerns about the accuracy and reliability, and the issue of power consumption which becomes real when we are talking about small gadgets like a watch.  

“For example, integrating a gas sensor on an electronic device requires an aperture or opening to allow air to flow onto the gas sensor so that the gas can be detected,” says Apple. “The aperture may degrade water resistivity of the device. Also, the size of the aperture may be constrained due to a tradeoff between form factor and gas detection capability.”

Apple also needs technology that could detect more than gas and the problem is that Apple doesn’t have the space in the Apple Watch to add more different sensors.

Apple also believes that right now the sensors “have a high idle-time current consumption to maintain properties of the sensor.”

For example some have “heating elements that are used to maintain a certain temperature of the sensor at all times.”.

Some of the previous proposals have been optical systems that pass light with known properties through a sample, which could be the user’s skin. So when that light is detected again, it will have some of its properties altered after passing through the object with some wavelengths absorbed by the body.

Apple Is Working On A New Terahertz Radiation Sensor for Non-invasive Glucose Monitoring

More on the New Terahertz Radiation Sensor for Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring

This new proposal by Apple is quite the same as the optical systems but it uses terahertz electromagnetic radiation. So ultimately, the new Apple Watch with this feature will be a radio spectroscopy device operating at a very short range.

“A transmitter of the electronic device emits an electromagnetic (EM) wave in a terahertz (THz) frequency band into a dynamic environment,” says the patent application. “A receiver of the electronic device receives a reflected EM wave from the environment.”

“A spectral response of the reflected EM wave is determined that includes absorption spectra that is indicative of the transmission medium in the environment,” it continues. “The absorption spectra are compared with known absorption spectra of target transmission mediums.”

If you look then you will see that Apple is constantly referring to an “electronic device” and not mentioning Apple Watch, this clearly indicates the wide scope of its proposal.

Further Reading

The absorption spectroscopy will be used to do the non-invasive glucose monitoring but that’s not it, Apple says that the proposal is to do with overall health monitoring as well. This means it would also be used to detect skin cancer and other skin disorders.

So we now know that Apple is working on a new terahertz radiation sensor and if the proposal works, we would have non-invasive glucose monitoring and that also means that Apple would be able to keep a track of your glucose levels continuously, monitor them, and notify the user of significant changes.

Now this will not be as accurate as the technology in the hospitals but it is still great to have a non-invasive glucose monitoring system that could monitor our glucose and have a continuous information. This has been proved very useful in the case of heart rate monitoring as well.

Apple is working on a new terahertz radiation sensor for non-invasive glucose monitoring we know that now for a fact but the technology is relatively new and it is still not clear whether Apple has actually begun the physical work of that or if it is still in the concept testing phase.

For those who have concerns about terahertz imaging and sensing, well, it is not ionizing radiation because it has low energies involved. So any effect on the tissue is expected to be only thermal. This is similar to existing radio frequency emissions like in the cellphones. So no need to worry about it.


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