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Huawei has announced the Watch 4, a smartwatch it claims is the “industry’s first smart watch” with what it calls “high blood sugar risk” features.
The watch has been announced in China, and there’s currently no word on when it will come to other countries. It is unlikely to ever see an official launch in the US.
However, it is a notable watch thanks to its unusual blood glucose feature, which should be of particularly interest to those with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Huawei’s consumer CEO Yu Chengdong describes it as the result of “high blood sugar risk assessment research,” on Chinese social network Weibo.
While I’m yet to see a demo of the Huawei Watch 4 in action, Huawei’s promotional video suggests an alert will pop up when the watch thinks the wearer is at risk of lapsing into a high blood sugar state.
This is in addition to the “micro-physical examination function, which can measure 10 health indicators in 60 seconds,” according to Yu.
How the Huawei Watch 4 blood glucose feature works
Huawei has been approached for more information, but the big mystery remains — how does the Huawei Watch 4’s high blood sugar alert tech work?
Huawei Central says the watch uses metrics “including heart rate, pulse wave characteristics, and more,” meaning no additional hardware is required beyond the traditional optical heart rate array.
However, this will also be why the fidelity of the resulting data is so limited. The Huawei Watch 4 won’t tell you your blood sugar readings, just whether you are at high or low risk of heading into a hyperglycaemic state.
This might be considered a follow-up to the efforts of the Huawei Watch D, which uses an inflatable strap to function like a traditional blood pressure cuff.
Apple Watch blood glucose monitoring
Non-invasive real blood glucose measurements remain something of a “holy grail” feature among wearables, and Apple is reportedly working on such a feature for its Apple Watch series.
It uses a technique called optical absorption spectroscopy, which estimates blood glucose based on an analysis of reflected light from a source pointed towards the vein. In other words, it’s quite similar to an optical heart rate reader when you zoom out far enough.
Apple is still years away from making this a reality, though, according to Bloomberg.
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