Patients with diabetes currently have the ability to use devices known as continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) to keep constant tabs on their blood sugar levels, but these also require embedding a needle underneath the skin. However, a new non-invasive technology is emerging that will allow anyone to monitor blood sugar levels in real time.
Fitbit has invested $6 million in a glucose-monitoring startup called Sano, in what appears to be part of Fitbit’s larger plans to make its fitness devices more valuable for overall health.
The investment was first reported by CNBC earlier today; The Verge independently confirmed the investment.
Sano, founded in 2011, is a San Francisco-based company that has been working on what it describes as a minimally invasive, continuous glucose monitor that you’d wear on your skin like a patch. The product doesn’t appear to have shipped yet, and it’s unclear whether this would be sold directly to consumers, or whether it will require FDA approval. That depends on what kind of claims the company is making about the technology.
Minimally invasive glucose monitoring — which means not drawing blood or monitoring the interstitial fluid just below the skin — is a trend among some of the world’s biggest tech companies. Alphabet company Verily says it’s working on a miniaturized continuous glucose monitor. Apple is said to be working on some type of needle-less blood sugar tracker — though as The Verge’s Rachel Becker has reported, it’s incredibly difficult to accurately test blood sugar without breaking the skin.
In September of last year, Fitbit said that it was partnering with Dexcom, Inc. to bring a continuous glucose-monitoring display to the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch. Fitbit has also said it’s working on a solution for tracking sleep apnea, though again, that may require more advanced technology than Fitbit’s current slate of products offers.