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Apple is reportedly working on a feature to detect symptoms of depression, anxiety

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Sep 22, 2021 8:16 pm

Apple is reportedly set to launch a new feature that will detect if its user has symptoms of depression, anxiety, or cognitive decline from just their iPhones.

Per The Wall Street Journal, the tech company will utilize sensor data such as mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, and typing behavior to detect digital signals pointing to the aforementioned mental health issues. Other elements such as facial expression analysis and heart/respiration rates will also be used to process the data.

The initiative is still in the research stage as of writing, with Apple working with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to record the stress, anxiety, and depression levels of 3,000 participants with Apple Watch and iPhone data.

They also reached out to the pharmaceutical company Biogen for research on cognitive decline. The upcoming tests will root from a 2019 study that showed how adults with cognitive impairment issues used Apple devices differently from those with zero recorded impairments.

Though mental health diagnoses often require a series of clinically approved tests and consultation from a professional, Apple's initiative could be as simple as detecting the early signs of these issues—or even the possible symptoms that may raise alarm.

With the project still in its early stages, it could also take a few years to come to full fruition.

Apple has yet to issue a statement on the feature.

Banner photo from Unsplash