Apple working on sensors to monitor diabetes
Apple working on sensors to monitor diabetes Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Apple has a "secret" team of biomedical engineers working on sensors to monitor blood sugar levels to help treat diabetes, according to a report.

The company has been conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites across San Francisco Bay Area, people familiar with the plan told CNBC.

Apple is developing certain optical sensors that would shine a light through the skin to measure glucose levels, the sources told CNBC. The breakthrough would be a boon for those suffering from diabetes and could turn Apple Watch into a "must have" device, while offering an easy way to measure blood sugar levels.

The glucose team is reporting to Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies. Michael D Hillman, who was previously leading the team, is currently working as the head of hardware at Facebook's Oculus.

About 30 people began working on the project for over a year, but news about the development started spreading since the company hired a dozen biomedical experts from companies including Vital Connect, Masimo Corp, Sano, Medtronic and C8 Medisensors. Some of them joined the glucose team whereas others are on the Apple Watch team.

The project was actually the brainchild of former co-founder Steve Jobs. Work on the sensors has been going on for the past five years. In 2010, Apple acquired Cor after the then CEO Bob Messerschmidt sent an email to Jobs about sensor technologies for health and wellness.

Apple is not the only company in the race. Google's life science team is working on a smart contact lens to measure blood sugar levels through the eye. In 2015, the life science team joined DexCom to develop a glucose-sensing device that is as big as a bandage.