Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

Check Your Glucose on your Wrist: New Biometric Watches Use Light to Non-Invasively Monitor Vital Signs

Monitoring a patient’s vital signs and other physiological parameters is a standard part of medical care, but, increasingly, health and fitness-minded individuals are looking for ways to easily keep their own tabs on these measurements. Enter the biometric watch.

The new glucose- and dehydration-monitoring “watch,” strapped to a subject’s wrist and connected to  ...

The new glucose- and dehydration-monitoring “watch,” strapped to a subject’s wrist and connected to a computer for readout. Credit: Biomedical Optics Express.

In a pair of papers published in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express, groups of researchers from the Netherlands and Israel describe two new wearable devices that use changing patterns of scattered light to monitor biometrics: one tracks glucose concentration and dehydration levels, and the other monitors pulse.

The glucose sensor is the first wearable device that can measure glucose concentration directly but noninvasively, the authors say.

And while other wearable devices have been made to monitor pulse, the authors claim their new design would be less sensitive to errors when the wearer is in motion, for example while walking or playing sports.

Both of the watches described in the two papers make use of the so-called “speckle” effect, the grainy interference patterns that are produced on images when laser light reflects from an uneven surface or scatters from an opaque material. When the material that is scattering the light is moving—say, in the case of blood flowing through the circulatory system—“the speckle pattern changes with changes in the flow,” explained biomedical engineer Mahsa Nemati, a graduate student in the Optics Research Group at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the lead author of the Biomedical Optics Express paper on monitoring pulse. Those light variations are a valuable source of information, she says.

The ‘Holy Grail’ of Diagnostics

In the first paper, bioengineer Zeev Zalevsky of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and his colleagues describe a new wearable biometric system that uses the speckle effect to directly monitor the glucose concentration in the bloodstream, as well as the wearer’s relative hydration level.

“Glucose is the holy grail of the world of biomedical diagnostics, and dehydration is a very useful parameter in the field of wellness, which is one of our main commercial aims,” Zalevsky said.

The watch-like device consists of a laser to generate a wavefront of light that illuminates a patch of skin on the wrist near an artery, and a camera that measures changes over time in the light that is backscattered off the skin. Unlike other chemicals present in the blood, glucose exhibits a so-called Faraday effect. This means that in the presence of an external magnetic field (generated by a magnet attached to the device) the glucose molecule alters the polarization of the wavefront and thus influences the resulting speckle patterns. Analyzing these changing patterns provides a direct measurement of the glucose concentration. Because one of the main signs of mild to moderate dehydration is muscle weakness, which will alter the strength of the signals, the same device can also be used to indicate the relative dehydration level of the user as it changes over time.

Zalevsky and his colleagues are now working to reduce the margin of error in the device’s readings. “Around 96 percent of our in vivo measurements were within a range of 15 percent deviation from the readout of a medical reference glucometer device,” Zalevsky noted. “The main factor for errors now is the stability of our device on the wrist of the user. We are currently investing efforts in deriving proper calibration and motion cancellation procedures that will allow us to reduce this sensitivity.”

Zalevsky says this is the first step toward non-invasive, continuous in vivo measurement of glucose that is based on sensing an effect that is directly related to glucose concentration. The team expects a commercial version of the device to reach the market within two to three years.

Pulse Tracker

In the second Biomedical Optics Express paper, published today, Nemati and her colleagues at Delft and at Phillips Research developed a method that could be used to monitor pulse non-invasively with a sensor that isn’t thrown off by the wearer’s movement.

Using simulated heart beats generated in milk and measurements performed on the finger of a volunteer, they found that speckle changes can be used to accurately measure flow pulsations—that is, the heart rate—even when the light source used to create the speckle pattern is also moving, as would be the case with a wearable biometric sensor. The researchers found that just a couple of pixels from the image were sufficient to extract the pulse rate.

“This paper shows for the first time that a speckle pattern generated from a flowing liquid can give us the pulsation properties of the flow in spite of motion-induced artifacts,” Nemati said. “Sophisticated optics is not necessary to implement this, so the costs for devices can be kept low. Another advantage is that the devices can be non-contact or far from the sample,” she added.

The team is currently working with companies to integrate their motion-friendly pulse-monitoring technique into existing sensors, for potential use clinically as well as in sports, Nemati said.


Improved noncontact optical sensor for detection of glucose concentration and indication of dehydration level,” N. Ozana et al., Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 5, Issue 6, pp. 1926-1940 (2014).

Dynamic light scattering from pulsatile flow in the presence of induced motion artifacts,” M. Nemati et al., Biomedical Optics Express, vol. 5, Issue 7, pp. 2145-2156 (2014).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Images are available to members of the media upon request. Contact Angela Stark, [email protected].

About Biomedical Optics Express

Biomedical Optics Express is OSA’s principal outlet for serving the biomedical optics community with rapid, open-access, peer-reviewed papers related to optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences. The journal scope encompasses theoretical modeling and simulations, technology development, and biomedical studies and clinical applications. It is published by The Optical Society and edited by Joseph A. Izatt of Duke University. Biomedical Optics Express is an open-access journal and is available at no cost to readers online at

About OSA

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional society for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-world applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership programs, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of professionals in optics and photonics. For more information, visit

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...