Apple is developing iPhone features to help detect depression, cognitive decline. Researchers hope to get digital signals using an array of sensors to collect data such as mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behavior, and more. The data collected will assist in creating algorithms to detect them reliably. According to Apple, this will be the basis for unique features for its devices.
Apple is developing this feature in collaboration with researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Biogen, a pharmaceutical company. The project is codenamed “Seabreeze” while the Biogen project is codenamed as “Pi”.
The Biogen study was launched on Monday, though details about it have not been reported.
Apple has earlier worked on health-oriented features with its smartwatch. The latest project is still in its early stages, and may never lead to new device features.
According to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who oversees Apple’s health unit, talking with the employees about the company’s potential to address surging rates of depression and anxiety as well as other brain disorders.
If Apple and its partners are successful, the development can improve the detection of the conditions, which affect tens of millions of people worldwide. Apple is also working on algorithms that work on user devices and don’t send the data to Apple servers, in a bid to avoid user tracking controversy.