Huawei will release blood glucose tracking as part of the Huawei Watch 4.
The feature will be a trial in China only, for now, and be an opt-in for users who are willing to take the feature for a spin.
The Huawei Watch 4 has already been revealed in Europe, and is set to get a full unveiling in China on 18 May.
But it shows that the Chinese smartwatch giant might be further ahead of big-name rivals such as Apple in the race to analyze blood sugar.
The hypoglycemia feature was revealed in a Weibo post by Huawei CEO Yu Chengdong.
“Since entering the field of sports health in 2013 Huawei has continued to innovate and cooperate with authoritative medical institutions in the past decade. And has made new progress in the field of blood sugar health.
“Huawei Watches will be the first to support high blood sugar risk assessment research., Everyone authorizes to join the research project and after wearing the watch for a period of time, the watch will notify of high blood sugar,” he wrote.
A screenshot of the feature was also released. See below.
The feature is being launched in conjunction with an unspecified Chinese medical institution.
The watch will study HRV and other heart rate data, and alert the user when there’s a risk of high blood sugar.
From screenshots of the feature, it doesn’t look designed to replace or mimic a medical-grade continuous glucose monitor. It’s not designed to show precise blood glucose readings, but instead advise users when their blood sugar may be too high.
Pre-diabetes is thought to affect 1 in 3 American adults, and is a huge global health problem.
While we have seen a huge race to non-invasive glucose tracking, it feels like a feature such as this has the best chance to make a difference.
While trend data isn’t too much use for Type 1 diabetics, for whom blood glucose data is a matter of life and death, it can be used by pre-diabetics, who are at risk of developing the disease if they don’t make lifestyle changes.
If smartwatch features such as this can raise awareness and promote better lifestyle choices, it could be a hugely effective tool.
In our interview with Steven LeBoeuf, CEO of Valencell, he said that glucose trackers that pointed to blood glucose trends were achievable in the medium term.
“I think it’s a great use case. It’s definitely possible to provide people with categorizations of where their glucose is. Is it too high? Is it too low? And that is viable with a non-invasive approach – and that’s how I imagine it would work,” he said.
Huawei also has a good track record of moving health features outside of China. It has got certification for its ECG technology signed off in Europe, which has landed on the Huawei Watch GT3 Pro and Watch Ultimate. So there’s a big chance this could make it to European shores.