While existing reports on the rumored iWatch are already offering different views on whether advanced sensors capable of monitoring glucose or hydration levels will be included in the smartwatch, what’s clear is that Apple appears to be very interested in adding more and more non-invasive sensors to monitor various health-related parameters in its future devices. The company has hired even more people with “deep biomedical and sensor technology expertise” in the past few months, Network World reports, than reported so far. In other words, the company is taking a completely different path than rivals, which have thus far launched smartphone companion products will little to offer beyond event notifications.
Marcelo Malini Lamego started work at Apple in January, after being the CTO of Cercador for eight years, a company that focuses on developing “noninvasive monitoring technologies.” At Cercador, Lamego helped develop a noninvasive technology for measuring oxygen saturation, hemoglobin levels and pulse. He’s also the inventor of more than 70 patents related to “optimization and signal processing, devices, sensors and patient monitoring technologies.”
Before Cercador, Lamego worked at Masimo, where he helped develop the Rainbow Technology platform, a “noninvasive monitoring platform enabling the assessment of multiple blood constituents and physiologic parameters that previously required invasive or complicated procedures.” Last summer Apple also hired Michael O’Reilly, a former Masimo employee, who attended Apple’s meeting with the FDA last December.
In November 2013, the company hired Nima Ferdosi, an algorithms architect who worked at Vital Connect before on “algorithms and firmware for embedded bio and motion sensors.” In December 2013, the company hired Ravi Narasimhan from the same Vital Connect. Ferdosi, Narasimhan (whom we’ve seen in past reports about iWatch hires) an Alexander Chan authored a couple of books on a noninvasive chest patch sensor that would be capable of “monitoring a user’s respiratory rate, heart rate, heart rate variability, steps and even falls.” Chan is believed to also work for Apple, after leaving Vital Connect last month to take a job with a tech company in the Bay Area.
Speaking about unconfirmed Apple hires, former C8 Medisensors Stephen Waydo is also believed to work for the company. Waydo left his former company after five years, as he got a job with a “Bay Area technology company.” His expertise includes developing noninvasive medical products to measure blood glucose.
Another former C8 employee, Ueyn Block, was hired by Apple last March, and was mentioned in previous iWatch reports.
Even if Apple’s iWatch will not be as hot as some of the recent rumors portray it to be in terms of medical-related sensors, the fact that Apple is employing so many professionals with deep knowledge of the biomedical sensor environment suggests that the Apple smartwatches and wearable devices of the future may offer even more advanced health-related features.