Prototype uses Google's radar, AI tech to noninvasively measure glucose levels

By Dave Muoio
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Researchers from the University of Waterloo have described a proof-of-concept system that uses Google’s Soli — an experimental, radar-based gesture tracker co-developed with Infineon — to track concentrations of glucoses within a solution.

With further investigation and adjustment, this prototype technology could potentially be implemented for diabetes patients as a novel noninvasive approach to managing blood glucose levels.

"We want to sense blood inside the body without actually having to sample any fluid," George Shaker, an engineering professor at the University of Waterloo and the ’s lead author, said in a statement. "Our hope is this can be realized as a smartwatch to monitor glucose continuously.”

tailors hardware, software, and algorithms to transform a 60GHz mm-wave radar into an interface for various devices. The technology tracks hand motions that imitate interactions with physical tools, such as a button press or dial rotation, allowing users to input prompts using their hands alone. While Google has developed its own set of recognized gestures, the Soli SDK also allows developers to build new capabilities.

In their investigation, Shaker and colleagues retrofitted the system to gauge a mixture’s glucose level using the same high-frequency radio waves. By measuring more than 500 wave features and characteristics from the returned radio waves and analyzing these via a tailor-built machine-learning algorithm, the team said that it was 85 percent as accurate as a traditional blood glucose analysis when tested with diabetic volunteers.

"The correlation was actually amazing," Shaker said. "We have shown it is possible to use radar to look into the blood to detect changes."

According to the statement, next the researchers will have to tackle how to maintain and improve their results when measuring glucose through human skin. The team is also working with Infineon to reduce the cost and power consumption of the radar device itself, so that a more self-contained application of the prototype technology would be feasible.

"I'm hoping we'll see a wearable device on the market within the next five years," Shaker said. "There are challenges, but the research has been going at a really good rate."