Culture Sep 22, 2021 10:04 PM EST

Apple working on technology to detect anxiety, depression, help users with Alzheimer's and other cognitive impairments

Until now, Apple's health initiatives have been mostly revolving around the Apple Smart Watch, but the company now notes, health is becoming a topline issue.

Apple working on technology to detect anxiety, depression, help users with Alzheimer's and other cognitive impairments
Angelo Isidorou Vancouver, British Columbia
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Apple Inc. is working on new technology to track and detect depression and cognitive impairments in users. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company uses "an array of sensor data that includes mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behaviour and more."

Apple recently partnered with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a pharmaceutical company called Biogen Inc., which focuses explicitly on behavioural research. Together, they launched multiple programs. "Seabreeze" is Apple's code name for the UCLA project and "Pi" is the code name for the Biogen project.

Biogen's study will last for two years and includes 20,000 participants who are "high risk of cognitive impairment." This pharmaceutical company is best known for producing Aduhelm, a drug that is meant for early onset of Alzheimer's.

Apple's joint study with the UCLA began its initial phase last year and had 3,000 participants. The goal of this study is to examine anxiety and depression in users.

Participants in the research "will track data from the iPhone's video camera, keyboard and audio sensors, and data from the watch related to movement, vital signs and sleep, according to the documents and people familiar with the study."

"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. They may also measure the speed of their typing, frequency of their typos and content of what they type, among other data points, according to the people familiar with the research and the documents," the outlet noted.

Until now, Apple's health initiatives have been mostly revolving around the Apple Smart Watch, but the company now notes, health is becoming a topline issue.

Representatives for Apple, Biogen and UCLA, declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.

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