non-invasive monitoringLet’s talk about non-invasive monitoring, body-worn sensors and what the future of medical devices might look like.

A recent story in Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MDDI) reports that Fitbit is collaborating with several other companies to bring glucose monitoring capability to a smartwatch. That is hard to do. Many companies have been hoping to develop a robust means of monitoring blood glucose non-invasively. To date, none have been able to.

Will Fitbit’s effort finally yield a result? I’m going to say probably not. But that’s not really the point. The point is that people are not giving up on cracking that nut. Accurate, non-invasive monitoring of all types of human physiology is going to happen eventually. New sensors are being developed. Flexible electronics that can conform to the contours and movement of the body are being developed. There is even research being done that might allow the skin itself to be a sensor.

Just as we overcame other seemingly impossible problems – engineering the ability to fly, to send men to the moon and back – we will overcome this problem as well. The medical devices of the future will be very different from those of today. Flexible electronics, sensors that are virtually a part of the body, harnessing the body’s own mechanisms to maintain better health and promote healing. Those technologies are pointing toward the next steps down the road.