Verily’s health ambitions include both data analysis and developing hardware sensors. In addition to current projects to make a continuous glucose monitor, the Alphabet health division is now rumored to be working on devices that can non-invasively collect blood.
According to CNBC today, Verily’s painless blood collection project involves a “system of exploding micro-needles and magnets.” One prototype takes a watch form factor with the wearable housing compartments to store and measure collected blood samples for analysis right in the device.
That is the extent of what is currently known about the technology, with other form factors being explored. Meanwhile, Alphabet is looking at various use cases for such a device.
Collecting blood is a particular barrier in health care due to how it’s not a pleasant experience for most people. However, it is a crucial aspect to record as it provides a wealth of data that can be used for analysis and creating a better picture of how someone is doing.
A wearable design could be used by patients enrolled in clinical studies to track key blood markers. Verily last year showed off a Study Watch for medical trials that features various sensors, like heart rate and ECG.
Another possible use case is having those checked into a hospital wear the device so that blood can be collected overnight without having to wake up patients.
A launch for this moonshot is years away according to the CNBC report, with scientific, technical, and regulatory issues ahead. Namely, there are no interested health partners, while the device would have to pass FDA safety and accuracy approvals.