Apple’s hired a small group of dedicated biomedical engineers who have been tasked with the development of advanced sensors that would monitor blood sugar levels non-invasively, an effort described as a holy grail for treating diabetes and life sciences. The initiative was reportedly initially envisioned by Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs before his death. According to CNBC, this team is working from a nondescript office in Palo Alto, miles from Apple’s corporate headquarters, reporting directly to Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies who joined Apple back in 2008.
Three people familiar with the matter said that the “super secret initiative” might eventually result in advanced sensors that could non-invasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes. The company is reportedly focused on optical sensors that shine a light through the skin to measure indications of glucose.
The Cupertino company is said to have been conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites across the Bay Area. It’s also hired consultants to deal with regulatory approvals, indicating that these sensors might be implemented in a future Apple Watch.
RELATED: The best iPhone apps for diabetics
“Jobs envisioned wearable devices, like smartwatches, being used to monitor important vitals, such as oxygen levels, heart rate and blood glucose,” reads the article.
These efforts have been going on for at least five years, said the source.
Another one added that the group comprised about 30 people as of a year ago. Back in 2010, Apple quietly acquired a company called Cor and its then-CEO Bob Messerschmidt joined the Apple Watch team shortly after.
Thus far, the iPhone maker has hired about a dozen biomedical experts from companies like Vital Connect, Masimo Corp, Sano, Medtronic and C8 Medisensors. The secret group was previously led by Michael D. Hillman, but Apple’s hardware chief Johny Srouji took over leadership following Hillman’s departure in late 2015.