Wow – Apple supplier to start lactate, hydration, blood glucose sensor trials

Rockley to start new-gen sensor trials for multiple physiology markers

It’s no secret that UK-based Rockley Photonics is a supplier to Apple, nor is it a secret that they are working on developing a non-invasive sensor to detect blood glucose levels.

Today’s surprising news is that Rockley claims to have a next-generation solution for blood glucose sensing and more besides. Plus Rockley are starting human trials in the coming months with hoped-for availability of the end product in Q2.2022. This would mean that an Apple Watch 8 (2022) could possibly include that tech although the following year would be more likely for a relatively cautious company like Apple.

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However, the tech is not simply focussing on blood glucose (specifically blood glucose trends). It is also claimed to offer the potential to sense hydration, lactate, core temperature and blood pressure.

Rockley – How the sensor works

Current wearable tech sensors generally use green LEDs to monitor heart rate.

Rockley’s sensor solution covers a broad spectrum of wavelengths BUT, I believe, produces multiple and discrete wavelengths within that spectrum by using a laser that can be more precisely controlled. Because discrete wavelengths are produced each can be given a relatively high power level and the upshot of that is a good signal to noise ratio…and hence the increased likelihood of more accuracy at multiple points. Machine learning algorithms are then used to interrogate the returned waveforms and analyze blood, interstitial fluids and the contents of skin layers.

Caution: Whilst sounding highly promising, the initial technology uses cloud-based computing to determine results. Even though Rockley has also stated that their focus is CONSUMER ELECTRONICS, rather than the medical world, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a standalone, solely wrist-based solution will be available in the first iteration of this sensor.

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Take Out

It’s phenomenally exciting news.

Much of the press seems to be focussing on blood glucose abilities but Rockley’s press release strangely uses the phrase blood glucose trends, so I’m not sure that it will deliver instant blood glucose readings. However, for the sportier readers of this blog, the prospect of hydration and lactate readings is mouth-wateringly exciting and blood glucose would be icing on the cake.


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.

Rockley’s 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.


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1 thought on “Wow – Apple supplier to start lactate, hydration, blood glucose sensor trials

  1. I think you’re like me in wanting sports watch tech to track more than how you performed in activity and more in how you both got to that point and how your health overall was improved/hurt by that activity.

    I’ve said this before, but the developer that is able to bridge that gap will win the lion’s share of the market, and I mean here both sports watches and Smartwatches doing fitness level tracking.

    Apple has the money, the install base already; they very much could take over the sector with hard/software like this. But instead, I think this is just the catalyst for others in the market to begin to pursue adding these things to their products.

    Garmin will/is likely to do it; Polar’s ethos would also put it in that place as well. With Google and Samsung teaming up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them also do it. Suunto, Coros, Wahoo, though, I doubt it, particularly Coros that doesn’t seem to care/have the resources to do it.

    Even so, it doesn’t get me all that interested to jump to Apple products. The only way that’ll move me over to their ecosystem is straight-up coros levels of battery life on their watch and price drop overall on their devices.

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