The California-based Cupertino giant Apple is, as per reports functioning on iPhone features that could diagnose depression and anxiety. These features could assist in diagnosing mental health problems, along with a drop in cognitive ability.
According to a recent report by a Wall Street Journal, the company has paired with professionals in the medical field to check if signs such as typing, facial expressions, sleep, and movement data can be utilized to create the latest features for the iPhone.
The report further stated that Apple is currently working with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a pharmaceutical organization called Biogen on different projects to create algorithms based on the user’s biometric data.
As per the WSJ report, working with UCLA is concerned with whether there’s mileage in the feasible diagnosis of stress, anxiety, and depression. There are chances to utilize cameras, keyboards, and audio sensors in order to paint a picture of the iPhone user’s mental health.
Furthermore, it could look into speech, heart rate (through a fellow Apple Watch), breathing rates, sleep patterns, and further how quickly the iPhone holder is walking. The documents referred to in the report additionally point out how typing speed and typing errors could further provide insights.
Those taking part in the extremely significant initiative could further be demanded to fill in mental health questionnaires. On the other hand, cortisol levels could be evaluated via hair samples. The Biogen project is checking cognitive decline and is possibly going to utilize some similar metrics.
The same report, which referred to some internal sources and documents, does claim the research may not amount to the latest features. However, it does increase some interesting prospects.
The report further added,
“Using an array of sensor data that includes mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behaviour and more, researchers hope they can tease out digital signals associated with the target conditions so that algorithms can be created to detect them reliably, the people said. Apple hopes that would become the basis for unique features for its devices, according to the people and documents.”
Needless to say, any such ambition would need user opt-in and would increase some important privacy and moral questions. It does appear that these types of features might be years afar in case they do turn out to be materializing.