Apple is hiring people with expertise in developing medical sensors, according to a report from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac.
Gurman, the best Apple reporter in the world, says Apple has added (at least) two new people who should help with Apple’s iWatch.
Apple poached Nancy Dougherty, who was at a stealth startup called Sano Intelligence. Sano’s product hasn’t hit the market. But, it was working on a patch that would constantly monitor your blood.
Ariel Schwartz at Fast Company used the Sano patch in 2012: “The needle-less, sensor-laden transdermal patch is painless (I handled a prototype, which felt like sandpaper on the skin), and will soon be able to monitor everything you might find on a basic metabolic panel–a blood panel that measures glucose levels, kidney function, and electrolyte balance.”
According to Dougherty’s LinkedIn profile, she was “solely responsible for electrical design, testing, and bring-up as well as system integration; managing contractors for layout, assembly, and mechanical systems” for the Sano patch. In other words, she was a big deal for the company, and presumably a big loss.
Gurman says Apple also poached Ravi Narasimhan from a company called Vital Connect, which develops wearable biosensors. He led R&D at Vital Connect. Vital Connect makes the “HealthPatch” which is worn on the chest and monitors a user, sending data via Bluetooth.
Vital Connect’s description of its product: “The HealthPatch biosensor is the first solution of its kind capable of capturing clinical-grade biometric measurements in a continuous, configurable and non-obtrusive manner using a small yet powerful patch worn on the chest.”
These aren’t the only people with expertise in biomedical sensors at Apple. Last year, Gurman reported that Apple was scooping up a bunch of people from biomedical startups, and people with fitness tracking backgrounds.
Gurman has no word on when or if Apple will release an iWatch. Judging by all the people it’s hiring, we’d be stunned if Apple released an iWatch this year. Odds are that it’s out early next year. It might follow the pattern of the iPad and the iPhone where it announces the iWatch in January of 2015, and then releases it a month or two later in 2015. That’s just our speculation, though.
Whenever it comes, it sounds like it’s going to be something really big, really revolutionary, and totally different than everything else available right now.
Apple is staffing up on people that are developing non-invasive technology to track your blood to give you up-to-the-minute data about your health. This is going to be a little creepy, but awesome if done right.
This could be like when Apple released the iPad. At the time, Amazon’s Kindle e-reader was the only tablet-like computer that was finding mainstream success.
The Kindle e-reader did one thing: It allowed users to easily read digital books.
The iPad did that, plus it let users surf the web, check email, play games, watch video, do work, and lots of other stuff.
This isn’t a knock on the Kindle. It was only supposed to be good for reading books. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.
Similarly, we think there is a very good chance that Apple’s iWatch will do to the current crop of fitness-trackers what the iPad did to the Kindle. It will make those single purpose devices obsolete by adding all sorts of different apps.
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