Fitbit Announces Deal to Bring Glucose Monitoring Data to its Ionic Smartwatch

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Fitbit has announced a new partnership with glucose monitoring device company Dexcom that is set to bring diabetes monitoring capabilities to the fitness tracker company's new Ionic smartwatch.

The deal initially means Ionic users will be able to connect a Dexcom device to the Fitbit app and seamlessly transfer up-to-date glucose level data to the smartwatch, making the information more easily accessible on their wrist.

"The collaboration between Dexcom and Fitbit is an important step in providing useful information to people with diabetes that is both convenient and discreet," said Kevin Sayer, President and CEO, Dexcom. "We believe that providing Dexcom CGM data on Fitbit Ionic, and making that experience available to users of both Android and iOS devices, will have a positive impact on the way people manage their diabetes."
There's nothing in the partnership to suggest the Ionic smartwatch will be able to give continuous glucose monitoring readouts on its own when it's released next month - current continuous glucose monitoring systems require a small sensor that's worn under the skin to monitor glucose levels - but Fitbit shares jumped 13 percent on the news, a high for the company since January, when it laid off some of its employees and announced its smartwatch plans.

Dexcom also has a deal with Apple to bring its features to the Apple Watch this year, while owners of Dexcom monitors can already view their glucose data on an Apple Watch - advanced devices by Dexcom include a transmitter, which can display glucose information directly to an iPhone app.

Apple is thought to be working on a non-invasive real-time glucose monitor for a future version of Apple Watch. In April, a CNBC report suggested Apple had a team of biomedical engineers working to develop sensors for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose, with work on the sensors far enough along that the company had started conducting feasibility trials.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly spotted in May testing a prototype glucose monitor that's connected to his Apple Watch. Cook, who is said to be aiming to understand how his blood sugar is affected by food and exercise, has been seen wearing the device around the Apple Campus.

Article Link: Fitbit Announces Deal to Bring Glucose Monitoring Data to its Ionic Smartwatch
 
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Kabeyun

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Not Earth-shattering news here, although those who frenzied to buy Fitbit shares didn't appreciate that. The Fitbit will show the data of another device, just as AppleWatch can. Accurate real-time blood glucose monitoring, on the other hand, will be a game changer.
 

JosephAW

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If it's anything like the other monitors you will have to calibrate it several times a day with a pin prick tester.
 

thisisnotmyname

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Not Earth-shattering news here, although those who frenzied to buy Fitbit shares didn't appreciate that. The Fitbit will show the data of another device, just as AppleWatch can. Accurate real-time blood glucose monitoring, on the other hand, will be a game changer.
The downside is that if someone were to make non-invasive real time glucose metering accurate and incorporate it natively into, say, the Apple Watch, then every update to WatchOS from the point forward would require FDA approval. It's a bureaucratic nightmare which makes me think they'd want to isolate it in some way (e.g. a band with its own reporting/display mechanism that then uses BT to send to the watch for redundant archival, someone focusing to this area of regulation could weigh in but I believe that lowers the bar then).
 

thekeyring

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It's still invasive, unlike the sensor Apple have been testing.

I'm tired of hearing news like this and Google's AR efforts. Just enough to steal the sheen from Apple but not better, or even as good as Apple products.

I would love Apple to leapfrog others. Completely smash it out of the park like the gap which existed between iPhone 4S and any Blackberry phone in 2011.
 
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Xirian

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If it's anything like the other monitors you will have to calibrate it several times a day with a pin prick tester.
It's twice per day which is the least someone should be doing to begin with. Abott has one coming that needs no calibration.
 
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Chupa Chupa

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It would be Great if one day smart watches could also accurately detect heart problems before a heart attack occurs.
Long way to go there. Right now optical HRMs (all, not just the AW) cannot detect electrical heart activity. Optical HRM can only detect pulse based on light transmitted though blood. That is why the AW HR data (and other optical based watches) are inferior to those that require a chest strap for data collection. Optically gleaned data:2D, chest straps:3D.
 

AJ5790

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That has to be the ugliest hardware I’ve ever seen.
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Long way to go there. Right now optical HRMs (all, not just the AW) cannot detect electrical heart activity. Optical HRM can only detect pulse based on light transmitted though blood. That is why the AW HR data (and other optical based watches) are inferior to those that require a chest strap for data collection. Optically gleaned data:2D, chest straps:3D.
2% variance from better monitors isn’t bad at all.
 

Spendlove

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Question for the MacRumours medical tech team -

Is non invasive glucose and heart (problem) monitoring genuinely possible with todays technology in a device the size of a watch? I don't mean medical grade approved levels of monitoring but as suggested elsewhere, to with a tolerable level of margin of error (say within 5% to pluck a number out of thin air?)
 

RudySnow

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It's twice per day which is the least someone should be doing to begin with. Abott has one coming that needs no calibration.
There have been meters that require no calibration for years. I use a Reli-On meter that has never required calibration.
 

Chupa Chupa

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2% variance from better monitors isn’t bad at all.
No I don't think you understand the difference between the two technologies. I am not talking about simple pulse. I'm talking about electrical activity, similar to what an EKG does. (Obviously EKGs are medical grade and consumer chest straps are not.) But optical HRMs -- no matter what brand because it's not about brand it's about the technology -- cannot detect electrical activity. There currently is no way to derive heart rate variability (HRV) from an optical sensor -- again regardless of brand.

But yes, if you are training 2% can be the difference from thinking you are in one zone or another -- a zone you don't want to be in. If you don't do heart conditioning then 2% doesn't matter obviously. So it depends what your use it. 2% can be significant and is why people serious about heart conditioning do use a strap.
 
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Kabeyun

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The downside is that if someone were to make non-invasive real time glucose metering accurate and incorporate it natively into, say, the Apple Watch, then every update to WatchOS from the point forward would require FDA approval. It's a bureaucratic nightmare which makes me think they'd want to isolate it in some way (e.g. a band with its own reporting/display mechanism that then uses BT to send to the watch for redundant archival, someone focusing to this area of regulation could weigh in but I believe that lowers the bar then).
Interesting thought, but I believe FDA approval would only be required for watchOS updates with changes pertaining to the monitor. I say this with some knowledge of the medical industry. A blood pressure monitor with a black plastic housing can then be made with a white plastic housing but no requirement for a new full FDA review.
 

thisisnotmyname

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Interesting thought, but I believe FDA approval would only be required for watchOS updates with changes pertaining to the monitor. I say this with some knowledge of the medical industry. A blood pressure monitor with a black plastic housing can then be made with a white plastic housing but no requirement for a new full FDA review.
Medical software is an odd space though (different than superficial changes to a physical device). I don't claim expertise in this area but I was briefly involved with a business that was extending their software to collection of data from glucose monitors. HIPAA was the bigger concern but depending upon the interpretation of FDA regs it seemed they would be required to submit the software for approval and all updates/patches much like you would the device itself or a pharmaceutical. Perhaps that could have been limited to assemblies/interfaces that directly touched those data but ultimately I didn't move forward with that venture (and I think they dropped the glucose monitor plan too) so I didn't go through the full process. In any case that experience is the basis for my comment. Someone whose practice focuses to FDA can probably provide more detail.
 

fernelius

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The downside is that if someone were to make non-invasive real time glucose metering accurate and incorporate it natively into, say, the Apple Watch, then every update to WatchOS from the point forward would require FDA approval. It's a bureaucratic nightmare which makes me think they'd want to isolate it in some way (e.g. a band with its own reporting/display mechanism that then uses BT to send to the watch for redundant archival, someone focusing to this area of regulation could weigh in but I believe that lowers the bar then).
This certainly does complicate things substantially. In time and as devices continue to merge, though, I suspect the FDA is going to need to start taking approaches similar to that done in the information assurance realm -- when dealing with information at different security levels where data cannot mix or become available to code handling lower sensitivity data -- or in flight certification via DO-178b -- where code handling operations at different flight criticality might run on the same hardware. I suspect there would need to be significant changes to the iOS kernel, etc., but portions of the software that deal with his very sensitive and life-critical information could be segmented from the rest of the code. If modifications to that code (and hardware) were not made, re-certification might not be necessary or be much simpler (self-certification even).
 

thisisnotmyname

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This certainly does complicate things substantially. In time and as devices continue to merge, though, I suspect the FDA is going to need to start taking approaches similar to that done in the information assurance realm -- when dealing with information at different security levels where data cannot mix or become available to code handling lower sensitivity data -- or in flight certification via DO-178b -- where code handling operations at different flight criticality might run on the same hardware. I suspect there would need to be significant changes to the iOS kernel, etc., but portions of the software that deal with his very sensitive and life-critical information could be segmented from the rest of the code. If modifications to that code (and hardware) were not made, re-certification might not be necessary or be much simpler (self-certification even).
Good points, and Apple is obviously no stranger to isolating processing with the likes of the secure enclave. Some day we need convergence of medical with general computing, something like that evolution will need to occur.
 

ignatius345

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The more body sensing features these things add, the more uneasy it makes me with the health insurers offering use of monitoring technology to offer "discounts" (i.e. price penalties for not wearing a tracker). How far away can we really be from getting warning messages about how many drinks we had over the weekend....
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
It's still invasive, unlike the sensor Apple have been testing.
Internet myth. No such thing has ever been reported.

Nowhere in the CNBC source was it stated that Cook had been publicly testing an Apple-made prototype sensor, nor that the monitor he himself talked about wearing had been a non-invasive one.

In fact, most experienced observers assumed he was using a third party invasive device. It was only the internet echo chamber that made up more than was said.

Is non invasive glucose and heart (problem) monitoring genuinely possible with todays technology in a device the size of a watch?
As noted, blood pulse monitors don't have the definition needed, as they're reading capillaries at the end of a delayed pulse blob, affected by arm movement.

You need actual heart electrical activity, which can be gotten from a watch _if_ you constantly kept the non watch hand touching the watch... thus completing a circuit loop through your chest.

As for non-invasive glucose, the only way I've heard was Google's attempt to make one in a contact lens by monitoring tears. Perhaps someone has heard of another way.
 

Spendlove

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Internet myth. No such thing has ever been reported.

Nowhere in the CNBC source was it stated that Cook had been publicly testing an Apple-made prototype sensor, nor that the monitor he himself talked about wearing had been a non-invasive one.

In fact, most experienced observers assumed he was using a third party invasive device. It was only the internet echo chamber that made up more than was said.



As noted, blood pulse monitors don't have the definition needed, as they're reading capillaries at the end of a delayed pulse blob, affected by arm movement.

You need actual heart electrical activity, which can be gotten from a watch _if_ you constantly kept the non watch hand touching the watch... thus completing a circuit loop through your chest.

As for non-invasive glucose, the only way I've heard was Google's attempt to make one in a contact lens by monitoring tears. Perhaps someone has heard of another way.
Thanks Kdarling. I keep seeing these stories bouncing around that the tech is possible and coming soon to the Apple Watch. Now thankfully I can skip them as the click bait that they are.