According to a recent update, Samsung is currently developing a wearable skin sensor capable of estimating your calorie intake. The company, known for its Galaxy Watch, is making significant progress in refining these skin sensors to automatically monitor the caloric content of your food and beverages without the need for manual input.
While other prominent players in the wearables industry, such as Apple and Huawei, are primarily engaged in developing non-invasive blood glucose tracking for pre-diabetic individuals, Samsung has set its sights on creating a more versatile solution with broader applications.
Samsung has detailed a new patent update that introduces a skin spectrum measurer, also known as a spectroscope. This device would emit light onto the user’s skin and analyze the spectral lines of the light reflected back from the skin.
According to Samsung’s explanation, this innovative feature would initially measure the wavelength to detect the glucose present in the bloodstream when the wearer has an empty stomach. Subsequent measurements would be taken after consuming food or beverages. By employing an algorithm, the device can then estimate the total amount of glucose absorbed into the bloodstream, allowing for an estimation of the caloric intake.
According to the description, the patent explains that there is a noticeable alteration in the skin spectrum after a user consumes food and beverages. Specifically, when 75 grams of glucose is consumed, it corresponds to 227.5 kcal of calories.
The accompanying flow diagram in the patent provides a simplified representation of the process: it begins with measuring the user’s skin spectrum, followed by calculating the noise of the measured spectrum. Based on this calculated noise, the user’s calories are estimated, leading to the end of the process.
All the collected data would be transmitted to a companion app, allowing users to conveniently track their calorie intake over time and identify patterns, all without the hassle of manually inputting meals or logging food.
The accompanying diagrams depict the technology integrated into a smartwatch, indicating the potential suitability of this technology for future Galaxy Watch models.
While smartwatches have traditionally estimated calorie burn based on motion and heart rate data, the incorporation of the technology described in this patent would offer a more comprehensive view of daily calorie surplus or deficit.
Currently, there are existing devices that can achieve a similar outcome, albeit using different methods. For instance, the HealBe GoBe 3 utilizes bioimpedance sensor data and their patented Flow technology.
The device developed by the company utilizes fluid movement within cells, which is influenced by changes in glucose levels. The device is not only capable of accurately tracking calorie intake but also claims to log the consumption of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins with precision, as each nutrient category is absorbed at different rates.
In the realm of mainstream wearables, it appears that Samsung might be outpaced in terms of incorporating blood glucose tracking functionality by rival company Huawei. In mid-May 2023, Huawei announced its trials of blood glucose tracking on the new Huawei Watch 4, albeit limited to the Chinese market.
However, it is important to note that in this particular case, the feature is not primarily designed for tracking calorie intake. Instead, it serves as a non-invasive, needle-free method to assess the risk of high blood sugar levels for individuals with diabetes.
Huawei has announced that their watches will be the first to support research on assessing the risk of high blood sugar. They invite everyone to participate in the research project, where individuals wear the watch for a specific duration, and if high blood sugar is detected, the watch will provide a notification.
According to a recent report, Apple is also making significant progress towards incorporating this highly sought-after feature into their Apple Watch range. While there has been ongoing speculation about the inclusion of a blood sugar sensor in the smartwatch, Apple now believes it could potentially introduce glucose monitoring to the market.
In February, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple achieved a significant milestone with their optical absorption spectroscopy technology, potentially paving the way for its inclusion in the near future.
Movano is another company working on an RF sensor that could be housed within a smart ring, with trials for blood glucose monitoring also planned to commence later this year.
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