iPhones Could Be Used Diagnose Autism in Children and Depression in Adults

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Apple got itself into a bit of a mess a little while back when it came out that it would be “scanning” users’ phones for potential signs of human trafficking and child abuse.

man in white top holding iPhone
Photo by Charles Deluvio

But that hasn’t deterred Cupertino from turning the iPhone into a hub for all things health (a goal the company has quietly pursued for some time now).

The latest brainwave from the geniuses at Apple happens to involve using the iPhone to detect diseases like depression in adults or autism in children. How does it work? Using the iPhone’s camera, of course.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Apple has a third brain-related research partnership with Duke University that it hasn’t disclosed. It aims to create an algorithm to help detect childhood autism, according to the documents and people familiar with the work. The research looks at using the iPhone’s camera to observe how young children focus, how often they sway back and forth, and other measures, according to the documents.”

The company has partnered with Duke University according to the article and is using the research conducted there to refine its own process. Naturally, there are concerns (again) about privacy and whether or not this kind of intrusion is a welcome feature on an iPhone but that’s to be expected.

Using cameras for healthcare is nothing new to be sure, yet the kind of widespread market adoption of smartphone use that we’ve seen over the past decade does make this whole idea a real game-changer for healthcare if done properly. It will be exciting to see how companies innovate and protect user privacy at the same time.

What do you think of potentially using the iPhone’s camera to diagnose diseases? Let us know your thoughts on the iPhone as a medical device in the comments below.

Check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[The Wall Street Journal]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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