Quantum Operation provided a sample of its data compared to that made by a commercial fingerprick monitor, FreeStyle Libre. And at this point, there seems to be a noticeable amount of variation between the notebook and the Libre. For now, it may be a deal breaker for those who rely on accurate blood sugar measurements to determine their insulin dose.
Non-invasive glucose monitoring is something of a holy grail for the medical industry as well as the major portable brands. After all, one in 1
Of course, the wearables industry has been looking for an easier and less invasive way to do this to try and steal some of that lunch. Unfortunately, no companies have been able to successfully demonstrate a working version of this technology, at least not to a commercial standard. In 2017, a company – PKVitality – came to CES with a watch that had a series of 0.5 mm high needles on the back of the watch that collected intermediate fluid from your skin. But it hardly counts as non-invasive.
Apple reportedly worked on a blood glucose monitoring platform just before Steve Jobs died. Rumors surfaced in 2017 that the company had a dedicated lab looking at ways to monitor blood sugar through a laptop. In 2018 AppleInsider found a patent filed by the company related to the use of absorption spectroscopy to monitor blood sugar levels.
This secret team was apparently strengthened by the former employees of C8 MediSensors, a company that could not accomplish this task at the beginning of the last decade. It raised $ 60 million in investments from companies like GE, but was unable to create a workable product until it closed in early 2013. An MIT Tech Review the company’s profile from 2014 said that the C8 simply could not solve the variability problem – where the readings differ from person to person – before it ran out of money.
A technique called Raman Spectroscopy has seen some promise both in the example above and in other projects. In 2018, a group of researchers at the University of Missouri and MIT found that a laser through a fiber optic cable could be used to monitor for glucose when pressed against the wrist. At the time, researchers said the system could offer readings comparable to a finger prick test.
There is still a long way to go before we are able to see this kind of technology in a working product, even longer before it is in one we want to buy. But if Quantum can demonstrate that it has avoided the pitfalls that some of its rivals have hit, and that its technology is accurate enough, this can be quite exciting.
Of course, since this is a virtual CES, it’s even harder to take the company’s amazing claims at face value. If we were on the show in person, we would be able to test the device for ourselves and talk to the founders face to face. It is also worth noting that there is as yet no peer-reviewed or otherwise externally validated science in support of this specific technology and its application. We can not make any serious assessment of this technology yet, other than to say that if quantum operation can prove its claims, then we may be heading towards a very exciting time for portable devices.