It’s hard to imagine this right now, but a wearable device that still doesn’t even support Spotify and only last fall adopted built-in GPS technology could soon save lives. Literally, not the kind of life-altering advertising propaganda you may see bandied about at a glitzy Apple hardware event.

And no, we’re not talking some conceptual patent application with microscopic odds of commercial realization and minimal actual development work. This time, it’s the real deal, at least five years in the making already, and originally envisioned by Steve Jobs himself.

“People familiar with the matter”, anonymously quoted by CNBC, estimated around 30 employees were working a while back at a “nondescript office” in Palo Alto, California on a “super secret initiative” meant to turn the Apple Watch into a professional healthcare product… eventually.

The elite team of biomedical engineers has been tasked with creating highly advanced sensors capable of “noninvasively and continuously” monitoring of blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes. Currently, tracking glucose levels accurately without piercing the skin can’t be done, but Apple is reportedly “conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites across the Bay Area”, also trying to “figure out the regulatory pathways.”

That clearly suggests the efforts, which may end up costing the tech giant as much as a billion dollars in total, are closer to achieving their desired results than anyone ever imagined. Unfortunately, we don’t know more about the super-exciting medical R&D project, aside from the name of the person in charge. That’s Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, who obviously reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, leading a group of experts poached from companies like Vital Connect, Sano, Medtronic and C8 Medisensors over the past few years.

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