Per a recent Wall Street Journal article, Apple believes that the next iPhone has the capacity to detect signs of depression and anxiety using a number of digital cues.
The cognitive decline features would, according to the publication, use data surrounding the user’s sleep patterns, facial expressions, physical activity, typing behavior and more collected by sensors on devices like iPhones and Apple Watches. Apple’s effort to diagnose mental health issues is motivated by research that the company’s devices are contributing to cognitive decline.
Working with researchers and scientists from UCLA and Biogen, Apple has sourced information from two research projects, both which involve using smart devices to analyze mental health. The first project, codenamed “Seabreeze,” is analyzing stress, anxiety and depression and the other project, codenamed “Pi,” is studying mild cognitive impairment. As these two projects are in their early stages, it is not yet confirmed that Apple will update its iPhone features.
While Apple has never measured cognitive decline with its devices, it has used them to help users track their medical conditions from atrial fibrillation to breathing issues. However, executives are enthusiastic. According to WSJ, chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who oversees Apple’s health unit, has spoken confidently to employees regarding the brand’s research and potential to address the surging rates of depression and anxiety along with other brain disorders.