In an effort to get ahead of Apple Watch Health Features, Samsung has patented a Wearable Blood Sugar monitoring device
Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Wins Second Major Blood Pressure Monitoring Patent that's part of a larger Project." The report noted that Samsung had been trying to mirror the health features that the Apple Watch was offering for their Galaxy Watch 3 for the Android world. In an effort to try and get ahead of Apple, Samsung was granted a patent last week for an all-new wearable device having an exchangeable sensor that could detect a biomarker, such as lactic acid, body temperature, or blood pressure, as well as blood sugar level.
In fact, Blood sugar is the main focus for the Samsung patent. With more than 34 million people in the US alone with diabetes, with 90-95% having Type 2, it's a huge market that tech companies like Apple and Samsung would like to address.
In Samsung's patent background they note that various biomarkers, such as glucose, are present in the human blood. A biomarker is a body substance by which a symptom or phenomenon shown in the human body may be measured.
Carbohydrates in food are dissolved into glucose via digestion. Glucose, which is referred to as blood sugar in the blood, is a basic energy source to the human body that is used in various tissues including brain, muscles, and fat and is delivered to various tissues through blood. Blood sugar levels increase after a meal, decrease on an empty stomach, and remain within a constant range with mutual actions by hormones including insulin or glucagon secreted from the pancreas. As blood sugar levels increase, insulin suppresses the new production of glucose from the liver while increasing the use of glucose in the muscles or fat tissues to reduce blood sugar. In contrast, as blood sugar levels decrease, more glucagon secretion occurs to allow the liver to produce more glucose, leading to an increased blood sugar level.
The increase or departure of blood sugar levels from a normal range is called diabetes, a type of a metabolic disease. A diabetic patient may be vulnerable to polyuria, polydipsia infection, abnormal vision due to microvascular complications, abnormal kidney function, peripheral neuritis, foot ulcers, dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system and its relevant symptoms in the digestive system, urogenital system or cardiovascular system.
To adjust the blood sugar of diabetic patients, an oral medication or shot including an insulin secretagogue may be used to inject insulin into the human body. The amount of the oral medication or insulin is adjusted according to the blood sugar level of the diabetic patient. For accurate verification of his blood sugar level, a diabetic patient periodically measures his blood sugar level using a glucometer.
For easier measurement, the glucometer needs to be made compact, lightweight, and easily portable.
In measuring the blood sugar level of a diabetic patient using a glucometer, referred to as self-blood sugar reading, a lancet is used to collect blood from the finger and a strip sensor and reader are used to measure the blood sugar level from the collected blood. This tends to subject the patient to substantial pain as it requires the patient to use the lancet for measurement several times per day.
For minimized pain, blood sugar measurement patches have been introduced, which use micro needles with a diameter of a few tens of micrometers that are inserted into the skin and remain attached to the skin for a predetermined period of time to extract a body fluid. A blood sugar measurement patch using micro needles includes a circuit part for measuring the blood sugar level of the collected blood and a battery. Due to the limited durability of the micro needles, however, the entire patch including the circuit portion and battery are disposed of after the lifetime of the patch.
As such, there is a need in the art for a method and apparatus that promotes continuous use of components of the wearable patch.
Samsung's patent is to address the above-mentioned problems and disadvantages, and to provide at least a number of advantages. Accordingly, an aspect of the invention is to provide a wearable electronic device having some replaceable parts, such as micro needles, and other parts that may be continuously used, such as a battery, detachably coupled with each other.
Another aspect of the present disclosure is to provide a wearable electronic device having an exchangeable sensor detecting a biomarker, such as lactic acid, body temperature, or blood pressure, as well as blood sugar level.
According to an aspect of the present disclosure, a wearable electronic device includes a main body wearable on a human body, a circuit unit mounted on the body unit, and a receiving unit provided in the main body and receiving a sensor unit contacting the human body to measure a bio signal, wherein the sensor unit is detachably coupled to the body unit.
Samsung's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a wearable device attached to a user's body.
The wearable electronic device interworks with various electronic devices such as a smartphone, smart watch, a tablet personal computer (PC), a mobile phone, a video phone, an e-book reader, a desktop PC, a laptop computer, a netbook computer, a workstation, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a portable multimedia player (PMP), an MP3 player, a mobile medical device, a camera, or a wearable device such as smart glasses, a head-mounted device (HMD), electronic clothes, an electronic bracelet, an electronic necklace, an electronic accessory or electronic tattoo.
Samsung's patent FIG. 2 below is a front perspective view illustrating a wearable electronic device; FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of the device where you could see the micro needles (#155) at the bottom that pierce the user's skin to collect body fluids; In FIG. 7 the wearable electronic device includes a receiving unit for receiving the sensor unit #105 and a cover unit 103 for fastening the sensor unit 105.
Samsung's patent is detailed and complex coupled with 78 patent figures. You could review their entire granted patent 10,874,335 here.
Whether Samsung has decided to bring this to market is unknown at this time. At present there are a number of "needless" methods on the market to monitor blood sugar, so Samsung could have an uphill battle making their device appealing to consumers dealing with diabetes that despise having to use needles on a daily basis.
A more innovative way to monitor blood sugar is being worked on by Google and Norvatis using a specialized contact lens with sensors that continually monitors tears for blood sugar levels. Google is the inventor of the concept. This is a far more practical device that probably could be designed to interwork with Android, iOS and future Windows devices.