Hey Diabetes Peeps, did you know that the term "complications" isn't always negative?
Yep, it's a little known fact that in horology (the art of measuring time), a complication refers to any feature in a timepiece that goes beyond just simply displaying hours and minutes. That means day/date displays, alarms, stopwatch functions, etc.
So finally, there are some diabetes-related complications we can all get behind! That is, lots of excitement this week about new glucose-tracking smartwatch features (err, complications) -- including a Dexcom-Apple Watch update and a new "Glucowatch 2.0" type device on display at the big annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that just wrapped up in Las Vegas.
Here's the 411 on those:
Dexcom G5 on Apple Watch
Earlier this week, Dexcom announced a new "complication" to its Apple Watch compatibility. Instead of having to touch an icon to open a separate screen to see your glucose data, it's now it's displayed right on the main watchface!
There are four different ways to view your glucose data there, ranging from 1 to 6 hour trend graphs:
Dexcom first announced Apple Watch compatibility in April 2015 with the Dexcom Follow app and watchface, and it later expanded that for all personal G5 CGM use on March 14, 2016. Now, this capability to see BG levels without pressing any buttons is a big change that many CGM users have been asking for quite a while.
Currently, the new capability is only for the G5 Mobile app and Apple Watch, as the company hasn't yet updated the Follow app that lets users share their results in real-time with family members or others. Word is also that this new feature doesn't work with every single watchface, so if you have a unique model it might not yet be possible to make the glucose data display on the main watchface.
Still, with those limitations, this is a pretty cool update!
K'Track Glucose Watch Sensor
Meanwhile, coming out of the huge CES event in Las Vegas this past week, we've seen a wave of news releases about cool new health-related gadgets. One of those was from the brand new 2016-formed French startup company PKVitality (pronounced PEEKA-Vitality), which has developed what it claims to be the first-ever glucose monitoring sensor embedded directly into a wearable device that measures BG levels through your skin (guess they'd never heard of the now-defunct GlucoWatch?)
Regardless, this international company has dominated the news cycle with announcements including the so-called K'Track Glucose watch that "uses microneedles to 'taste' fluid just below the skin’s surface and analyze it for glucose or lactic acid."
How It Works: Underneath the watchface, there's a special proprietary biosensor known as the "K'apsul" made up of tiny microneedles that "painlessly" penetrate the top layer of skin and analyze interstitial fluid (the same fluid that any regular CGM measures glucose levels by). This doesn't continuously monitor glucose, but does so every time you touch a button on the watch to prompt it to take a measure measurement.
The company is also developing a fitness version called the K'Track Athlete that measures lactic acid in the interstitial fluid. For both versions, the watch talks to an iOS or Android mobile app that can be programmed with alerts and reminders and trends.
They explain: "The Lactate Threshold is the point at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood at a faster rate than it can be removed. By ensuring exercise intensity is at or below this level, athletes can sustain performance with lower levels of fatigue for longer periods. Each endurance activity has a different ideal threshold range and every individual will be different. Lactate Threshold is important for endurance and sports with explosive activity such as long distance running, rowing, cycling, swimming, triathlons and obstacle races as well as any sports at the professional level."
Cost and Availability: Not this year, but depending on the various regulatory approvals in the US and beyond, the startup expects their K'Track Glucose watch to be available sometime in 2018, sold at an expected retail cost of $149 initially. Each Glucose K'apsul biosensor takes unlimited readings but lasts only 30 days, and replacement sensors are expected to cost $99 each.
Here's the short marketing video just released.
As with many of these futuristic products, the creators believe it will "revolutionize" diabetes management and eliminate the need for fingersticks (even though we're basically at that point with regular CGM already). The pitch seems to work, as the K'Track wearable concept was selected as a winner in the "Tech for a Better World" category of the 2017 CES Innovation Awards. So yes, some are very excited about this upcoming innovation.
Diabetes AI & Post-Pebble World
Speaking of diabetes-related innovation award winners, we have to give a shout-out to a company called DiabNext, that won a 2017 CES Innovation Award in the biotech category for what it claims is "the the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool dedicated to diabetes management."
The Cambridge, MA-based outfit refers to their tool, which integrates a suite of interactive software and hardware, as ClipSulin.
They've dubbed it "the Jarvis of diabetes" because it uses the famous Jarvis AI interface to enable physicians and patients to visualize treatment activities and calculate trends to better assess what drives patients’ highs and lows. We look forward to learning more about that one!
Meanwhile, in more smartwatch-related news, a quick update on what's happened since December, when Fitbit acquired Pebble and announced they'd be scrapping the very popular smartwatch that many in the D-Community were relying and building on:
We're happy to hear that Fitbit plans to continue supporting Pebble-wearers in the near future, and they have recently acquired Pebble-competitor Vector (!) leading to speculation that Fitbit is planning to develop its own smartwatch model before long, that will support a whole store-full of wearable apps.
So, in the world of diabetes data and time-measuring "complications," it seems we have a lot to look forward to!