What it is: Apple’s ResearchKit will allow researchers to monitor Parkinson’s Disease.
Every computer has its killer app. With the PC, it was the spreadsheet along with word processors and databases. With the smartphone, it was real-time driving directions and location tracking that allowed apps like Uber to thrive. With wearable computers like the Apple Watch, it’s real-time health monitoring.
The Apple Watch can monitor a person’s health and alert them to changing symptoms. This feature alone has saved the lives of many people when their Apple Watch alerted them to heart condition changes that directed them to get medical attention. Another way the Apple Watch can help monitor health in real-time is through Apple’s ResearchKit, which lets researchers enlist the help of volunteers who use the Apple Watch to test for various conditions.
In the past, researchers could only work with a limited number of people, typically within the geographical area of the researchers. This obviously limited the amount of data the researchers can collect. With ResearchKit and the Apple Watch, researchers can enlist volunteers from all over the world and collect their data, which not only provides a larger data sample, but also collects data from volunteers living under different parts of the world.
Apple’s latest version of ResearchKit will now detect tremors and hadn’t movements that can aid in the study of Parkinson’s Disease. The key to ResearchKit and the Apple Watch is that volunteers can collect data and send it to researchers without requiring much action on their part beyond volunteering and setting up their Apple Watch to collect their real-time health data. Such passive data collection allows the Apple Watch and ResearchKit to accurately monitor and collect health data.
For anyone who still doesn’t know what good a wearable computer might be, it’s time to get your head out of the ground. Wearable computers like the Apple Watch excel at real-time health monitoring for both users and researchers. If you don’t value your health, feel free to ignore the Apple Watch. If you do value your health, it’s time to learn how an Apple Watch could possibly save your life in the future.