Apple, Google, Samsung to bring health apps to wearables

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Recently, we read that Google launched Google Glass, this is a pair of glasses which is… well, basically a computer. Amazon’s new phone has 3D interface and can interact with the user’s face, etc. Now, the world’s largest mobile tech firms are getting onto the medical ship as well!

By Phinias Shonayi

 

Apple, Samsung, and Google are all eager to tap into the health and fitness wearable market. Samsung has already launched a host of wearables. Google will most likely debut a few Android Wear smartwatches this week, while Apple is expected to unveil the iWatch this October, following the introduction of HealthKit in iOS 8.

The 3 firms are on a search for apps that could turn new-on-the-block wearable technology like smartwatches and bracelets from curiosities into must-have items. The intentions are monitoring blood sugar, sources reveal.

For decades, medical tech firms have searched for ways to let diabetics check blood sugar easily, with scant success.

“The 3 firms have either hired medical scientists and engineers or asked U.S. regulators about oversight and developing glucose-measuring features in future wearable devices.” the sources said.

Though the first round of the technology may be limited, eventually the companies could compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market worth over $12 billion by 2017, research firm GlobalData reported.
Diabetes
In American, Diabetes afflicts 29mil and costs the economy some $245 billion in 2012, a 41 percent rise in five years.

Many diabetics prick their fingers as much as 10 times daily in order to check levels of a type of sugar called glucose.

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.
Courtney Lias, director at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s chemistry and toxicology devices division, has said “a marriage between mobile devices and glucose-sensing is made in heaven.”

Model presents Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch after its launch at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin
Such a device could avoid regulation if used for nutrition, but if marketed to diabetics, it likely would be regulated as a medical device, according to the summary, first reported by the Apple Toolbox blog.

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 DexCom chief executive Terrance Gregg, whose firm is known for minimally invasive techniques. To succeed would require “several hundred million dollars or even a billion dollars,” he said.

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