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BLOG: Apple's hiring spree of biosensor experts continues

Yoni Heisler | Feb. 14, 2014
As the rumors surrounding Apple's mythical iWatch continue to swell, Apple has continued to hire folks with deep biomedical and sensor technology expertise.

Again, it's very circumstantial, but recall the following blurb from Mark Gurman who was able to chat with C8 Medisensors CTO Rudy Hofmeister this past summer.

During a phone call, the former CTO told us that the company broke down because the glucose-level-analysis technology was facing issues surrounding the consistency of data readings. When the company dissolved, Apple moved aggressively to hire several C8 MediSensors directors and engineers, including designers and scientists that specialize in machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence that focuses on interpreting forms of data), Hofmeister said.

Particularly interesting is that one of Gurman's sources relayed that Apple at one point in time, before the company effectively went under, actually explored the possibility of acquiring C8's technology and resources outright.

Now, one C8 employee whose employment at Apple can be verified is Ueyn Block, who joined Apple in March of 2013 as a Technical Lead/Engineering Manager for optical sensing.

Another Apple hire from the biomedical space is Yuming Liu, an experienced engineer who previously worked at Accuvein on the company's Vein scanner product, a device that's seemingly straight out of the future.

Of course, don't expect Apple to release a product that does anything like it, but the hire goes to the point that Apple is hiring a lot of people with experience in nonintrusive medical technologies.

Indeed, before joining Apple as an analog engineer in October of 2012, Liu spent nearly two years working at O2MedTech, where he helped redesign the company's cerebral oximeter, a device that measures oxygen levels in the blood via nonintrusive sensors placed on a patient's forehead.

His LinkedIn experience reads as follows:

Click on the image to enlarge.

Now, how all of these hires will influence whatever new product category Apple decides to enter next remains to be seen. What we do know, however, is that Apple typically only acquires companies and hires individuals if they can have a direct influence on the company's current or future product line.

So will this rumored iWatch be an all-knowing health monitoring machine? Only time will tell, but given the talent Apple has been bringing in to Cupertino, it certainly seems like an area Apple is exploring rather aggressively.

Recently, a report from Mobihealthnews relayed that Apple's rumored iWatch may not feature a plethora of advanced sensors.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, citing his own sources, begs to differ:

Our knowledge is reliant upon what Apple is programming the Healthbook app to be capable of and based on the company's recent hires. Our sources today have reiterated that Healthbook is planned to be able to read glucose-related data, something that MobiHealthNews' report denies.


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