Apple, Google, Samsung race for first wearable blood sugar monitor

Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Google Inc., searching for applications that could turn nascent wearable technology like smartwatches and bracelets from curiosities into must-have items, have all set their sites on monitoring blood sugar, several people familiar with the plans say. These firms are variously hiring medical scientists and engineers, asking U.S. regulators about oversight and developing glucose-measuring features in future wearable devices, the sources said. The first round of technology may be limited but eventually the companies could compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market worth over $12 billion by 2017, according to research firm GlobalData.

All the biggies want glucose on their phone … Get it right, and there’s an enormous payoff.

John Smith, former chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson’s LifeScan

Medtronic Inc. senior vice president of medicine and technology Stephen Oesterle recently said he now considers Google to be the medical device firm’s next great rival, thanks to its funding for research and development (R&D). “We spend $1.5 billion a year on R&D at Medtronic—and it’s mostly D,” he told the audience at a recent conference. Google is spending $8 billion a year on R&D and, as far as I can tell, it’s mostly R.” Google has been public about some of its plans: it has developed a “smart” contact lens that measures glucose.

When Google announced its smart contact lens, that was one of the best days of my career. We started getting a ton of emails.

George Palikaras, CEO of Mediwise