Smartwatches are about to get a whole lot smarter. Rockley Photonics has pulled back the curtain on a health monitoring platform equipped with high-tech sensors to continuously monitor a range of biomarkers from blood pressure to glucose levels, all from the wearer’s arm.
As per The Telegraph Rockley is touting the system as a “clinic on the wrist,” since it goes beyond simply measuring health data, by sending the collected data to a smartphone app for further analysis by Rockley’s own machine learning algorithms.
The wearable sensors are able to analyze a wearer’s skin, blood and extracellular fluid to measure core body temperature and blood pressure, as well as hydration, muscle lactate, alcohol and glucose levels, among other features—far outpacing the abilities of current smartwatch models.
Rockley Photonics plans to test out the wearable through a handful of in-human studies over the next several months. From there, it plans to target both consumer electronics and medical device makers to incorporate the sensor tech into smartwatches and fitness trackers, as well as clinical monitoring devices.
Rockley’s sensor module and associated reference designs for consumer products integrate hardware and application firmware to enable wearable devices to monitor multiple biomarkers, including core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, and glucose trends, among others. Its full-stack sensing solution features a wristband that contains the sensor module and communicates with custom cloud-based analytical engines via a Rockley smartphone app. The wristband will be used in a sequence of in-house human studies in the coming months.
Moreover, Rockley’s architecture is designed to deliver several milliwatts of optical output power per wavelength channel to achieve the high signal-to-noise ratio required for signal analysis from a small wearable.
It is widely rumored that the Apple Watch Series 7 may include technology for measuring blood sugar levels in a noninvasive way, as well as body temperature. Outlets covering Apple technology have not definitively confirmed or denied that the new feature will be included in the Apple Watch.