Rockley Photonics, an Apple supplier, has today unveiled an advanced digital sensor system that is likely to come to Apple Watch to enable a wide range of new health tracking features.
The company today unveiled a full-stack, “clinic-on-the-wrist” digital health sensor system, which enables portable devices to monitor multiple biomarkers, including body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate and glucose. and more.
The technology uses a miniaturized chip solution with optical sensors that provide continuous, non-invasive monitoring of various biomarkers, in an attempt to overcome many of the challenges associated with portable health monitoring and avoid the need for invasive sensors that must perforate the skin.
Many portable devices use green LEDs to monitor heart rate, but Rockley’s sensor uses infrared spectrophotometers that can detect and monitor a much wider range of biomarkers to dramatically increase the functionality of portable devices. The sensor generates lasers for non-invasive examination under the skin to analyze blood, interstitial fluids and layers of the dermis for specific constituents and physical phenomena.
Rockley originally launched its full-stack sensing solution as a wristband containing the sensor module and communicates with an app, and it will be used in a number of human studies in the coming months, but the company suggested that its sensor module and associated reference design, including hardware and software, will be available for other consumer products.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Apple is the largest customer of Rockley Photonics. The company’s filing said that Apple accounted for the majority of revenue over the past two years, and that they have an ongoing “supply and development agreement” with the company, where they expect to continue to rely heavily on Apple for most of the revenue. .
Given the growth of Rockley Photonics and the extent of Apple’s partnership with the company, it seems highly likely that the company’s health sensor technology will reach Apple Watch faster than later, bringing the technology up to expectations. Rockley has previously said that the sensors may be in smartwatches for consumers and other electronics as early as next year, which may be in line with the launch of Apple Watch Series 8 models.