These firms are variously hiring medical scientists and engineers, asking US regulators about oversight and developing glucose-measuring features in future wearable devices.
The first round of technology may be limited, but eventually the companies could compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market worth over
Diabetes afflicts 29 million Americans and costs the economy some
Non-invasive technology could take many forms. Electricity or ultrasound could pull glucose through the skin for measurement, for instance, or a light could be shined through the skin so that a spectroscope could measure for indications of glucose.
"All the biggies want glucose on their phone," said
In a December meeting with
Such a device could avoid regulation if used for nutrition, but if marketed to diabetics, it likely would be regulated as a medical device.
The tech companies are likely to start off focusing on non-medical applications, such as fitness and education.
Even an educational device would need a breakthrough from current technology, though, and some in the medical industry say the tech firms, new to the medical world, don't understand the core challenges.
"There is a cemetery full of efforts" to measure glucose in a non-invasive way, said
To succeed would require "several hundred million dollars or even a billion dollars", he said.
To this end,
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