Apple’s new terahertz radiation sensor technology Apple Watch may support non-invasive blood sugar monitoring

A series of patents show that,applefor futureApple WatchIntroduce to useTerahertzElectromagnetic radiationmonitor blood sugarability without blood draw. Reports say Apple’s “Apple Watch Series 7” will have the ability to monitor blood sugar to determine blood sugar levels — without the need to draw blood from patients.

This is a technology that many medical companies have been pursuing, and one that Apple has been working on for a few years before. Now, however, four related new patent applications have come to light that together show Apple’s latest proposal for such a system in the Apple Watch.

None of the four mentioned the word glucose, nor the word “blood sugar.” However, they both propose systems that use absorption spectroscopy, which is the method used in all non-invasive system proposals to monitor blood sugar.

“THz spectroscopy and imaging in dynamic environments with enhanced performance using environmental sensors” is the main new patent application, and the other three are related variants of it. All four patents are attributed to the same team of inventions, and all involve the use of electromagnetic waves as part of a system.

There have been various implementations of using light to detect “mass of gas, healthy/liquid or solid materials” in previous proposals, but Apple believes this has certain limitations. In addition to concerns about accuracy, there is also the issue of power consumption for small devices such as watches.

“For example, integrating a gas sensor on an Electronic device requires an aperture or opening to allow air to flow over the gas sensor so that the gas can be detected,”

“The aperture may reduce the water resistivity of the device. Additionally, the aperture may be limited in size due to the trade-off between form factor and gas detection capability.”

Apple needs to detect more gases, but there’s no room in the Apple Watch to add many different sensors. “Integrating multiple sensors on a consumer electronics device to detect gases, liquids and solid materials increases the size and cost of the consumer electronics device.”

Finally, Apple says that many of today’s sensors “have significant current consumption during idle time in order to maintain the characteristics of the sensor.” For example, some sensors have “heating elements to maintain a certain temperature of the sensor at all times”.

A previous proposal was to pass light with known properties through an optical system of a sample, such as a user’s skin. When the light is detected again, it will be altered by what passes through, and some wavelengths will be absorbed by the body.

Apple’s new proposal appears to work the same way, except it uses terahertz electromagnetic radiation. Essentially, the Apple Watch will be a radio spectrum device with a very short operating range. “The transmitter of the electronic device emits electromagnetic (EM) waves in the terahertz (THz) frequency band into the dynamic environment, and the receiver of the electronic device receives the reflected EM waves from the environment. The spectral response of the reflected EM wave is determined, which spectral response Including the absorption spectrum indicative of the transmission medium in the environment, comparing the absorption spectrum to the known absorption spectrum of the target transmission medium.”

Just as Apple repeatedly refers to “electronic device” rather than simply referring to the Apple Watch, it also expanded the scope of its patent proposal. While absorption spectroscopy is a form of non-invasive glucose monitoring, Apple says the proposal is also for overall health monitoring, such as detecting skin cancer and other skin diseases. “

If Apple’s proposal works, it would clearly mean glucose monitoring could be done as a non-invasive procedure. But it also means that the Apple Watch can continuously monitor blood sugar levels and notify the wearer of major changes. While it won’t be as accurate as hospital monitoring and the like, it will provide continuous information that is just as useful as heart rate monitoring.

However, terahertz radio frequency generation and precise sensing is still a relatively new technology. It’s unclear how far Apple is progressing developing miniaturized components for it, and it’s possible that actual physical work hasn’t started at all other than researching the concept. Terahertz imaging and sensing is not ionizing radiation, and since the energies involved are so low, any effects on tissue are expected to be only thermal effects – similar to existing radio frequency emissions from cell phones and the like. The technology has wider applications in medical images, and could theoretically be used for data transmission and secure imaging.

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