The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, the company's next full-featured smartwatch, could offer built-in glucose monitoring to help users with diabetes manage and track their blood sugar.
According to a report from ETNews (opens in new tab) (via Android Authority (opens in new tab)), either the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or fitness-oriented Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 is due the second half of this year and will offer non-invasive blood glucose monitoring. Apparently the company has been working on this technology for some time.
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It works using a technique called Raman spectroscopy. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 successor could essentially employ a laser to help identify the chemical composition of glucose through the skin. As described in a method developed by Samsung researchers (opens in new tab), the laser offers high prediction accuracies.
The research was done in collaboration with the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The findings were recently presented in Science Advances, a scientific journal. It will then go on to be peer-reviewed.
Although their research isn't explicitly tied to consumer wearables, based on the ETNews report, its possible a laser-like glucose monitoring sensor could join smartwatch's existing sensors for heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring.
While non-invasive blood glucose readings could be a game-changer for those with diabetes, it's important to note that such a smartwatch feature probably couldn't replace all invasive tests. Plus more convenient testing methods such as continuous monitoring via a small, on-body pump are gaining popularity.
In fact, these finger prick-less systems from companies like Freestyle Libre and Dexcom already offer ways to check blood glucose levels and trends at a glance with compatible apps for Samsung and Apple smartwatches. We even helped a reader pick the right Apple Watch for monitoring diabetes with her Dexcom G6 system.
If Samsung's wearables could beat Apple's to monitoring blood sugar levels independently, we could see a highly-capable health tool and convincing Apple Watch 7 rival. Apple's next-generation smartwatch is also expected to launch later this year, although we don't know what wellness upgrades it'll have.
Whether the Apple Watch 7 will be pitted against a flagship Galaxy Watch or a Galaxy Watch Active 2 follow-up is too soon to say. According to ETNews, Samsung will launch three new wearables at an upcoming Unpacked keynotes. In the past the company has launched one smartwatch at a time, so it'll be interesting to see how aggressive Samsung is this year in growing its share of the wearable space.