Apple reportedly working on technology to let iPhones detect depression, cognitive decline

By: |
September 22, 2021 7:15 PM

Cupertino believes that its iPhone’s hardware capabilities coupled with data on sleep records, physical activities and other health aspects can help it in ascertaining if a user is suffering from mental health issues.

There does not yet seem to be any timeline for the release of these tools and this technology. (Image: Reuters)

Apple iPhone: Apple has always tried to up its game when it comes to iPhones, and in tune with that, it seems like Cupertino is now working on making tools and developing AI software that would be able to track the mental health of the user. Mental health is an issue that has started getting the attention it deserves only recently, as a result of which, several people are not even aware that they are suffering from mental health issues. Hence, this step, if indeed true and properly implemented, can be really helpful in tackling mental health problems. As per a report in Wall Street Journal, Cupertino believes that its iPhone’s hardware capabilities coupled with data on sleep records, physical activities and other health aspects can help it in ascertaining if a user is suffering from depression, anxiety and cognitive decline.

Also read | iPhone 13 lineup launched along with new iPad, iPad Mini and Apple Watch Series 7: Check India prices, availability details here

Apple is not only looking to detect clues of depression, but apparently working on a technology that can help in diagnosis of depression and cognitive decline. For this, physical and health data like typing speeds, typos, respiration rate, walk among other measures are likely to be used by the company to find digital clues about an underlying mental health issue.

The report stated that the company might look at aspects like facial expressions, the way they speak, the frequency as well as pace of walks, heart and respiration rates, sleeping patterns, speed of typing, frequency of typos, and content they type and analyse them to find assess the mental health status of the user.

For this, it is said that the tech giant is working with University of California as well as pharmaceutical company Biogen to work on the technology-related research to make this ambition a reality. Apparently, Cupertino has codenamed the UCLA project as ‘Seabreeze’ while the Biogen project has been named ‘Pi’.

There does not yet seem to be any timeline for the release of these tools and this technology, which makes sense, because if at all Apple is working on such a technology, it is not going to release it until it is satisfied with it. Amid this, it is said that Cupertino is also looking to ensure that user privacy is maintained and is therefore looking to develop tools that would not lead to uploading of crucial personal health data of users to Apple servers.

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