Cupertino-based giant Apple may be working on a new technology that will allow the iPhone to detect depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. To do this, the iPhone will use a number of digital clues, a report in Wall Street Journal hints. The report cited people familiar with the matter and documents to hint that Apple is aiming for tools that could expand the scope of its health portfolio. “The data that may be used includes analysis of participants’ facial expressions, how they speak, the pace and frequency of their walks, sleep patterns, and heart and respiration rates,” the WSJ report says.
Apple may also measure the speed of a user’s typing, frequency of their typos, and content of what they type, among other data points, the report said. Now, this naturally will give birth to privacy concerns. For privacy protection, Apple is reportedly aiming to do all diagnosis on-device, with no data being sent to its servers. According to the report, these efforts spring from research partnerships that Apple has announced with the University of California, Los Angeles, which is studying stress, anxiety and depression, along with pharmaceutical company Biogen which is studying mild cognitive impairment. According to the WSJ report, Apple’s project with UCLA has been codenamed “Seabreeze” and the project with Biogen is codenamed “Pi.”
Now, mild cognitive impairment is said to be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. The UCLA study, according to reports, will track data for 3,000 volunteers starting this year, while Biogen aims to recruit around 20,000 people to participate over the next two years, around half of which will have risk factors for cognitive impairment.
The Wall Street Journal report says that this is in a very early stage, and may not even see the light of the day. Apple’ Chief Operating Officer has been said to have spoken enthusiastically to employees about the company’s potential to address surging rates of depression and anxiety as well as other mental disorders, according to people who have heard him talking about the efforts.
Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here