TECH
10/03/2015 07:59 GMT | Updated 10/03/2015 08:59 GMT

Apple's New ResearchKit Turns The iPhone Into A Medical 'Tricorder'

Apple has unveiled ResearchKit, a program that allows researchers to turn your iPhone 6 into a powerful medical analytics tool.

Apps built through ResearchKit will utilise the myriad of sensors on board the iPhone, helping researchers gather sample sizes far larger than if they went through conventional means.

Apple's already worked with a number of prestigious universities and research organisations to create a suite of apps that can help measure air control for Asthma sufferers or even help detect the early symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

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ResearchKit Apps:

Asthma Health:

"It helps participants self-manage their asthma by avoiding areas where air quality could worsen symptoms. And since the study tracks symptom patterns in individuals, researchers hope to discover new ways to personalise treatment."

mPower:

"The University of Rochester and Sage Bionetworks have created the mPower app to precisely measure data such as dexterity, balance, memory, and gait. This information could help researchers better understand how various symptoms are connected to Parkinson’s disease. In turn, participants could start to recognize their own signs and symptoms."

GlucoSuccess:

"Massachusetts General Hospital developed its GlucoSuccess app to help understand how various aspects of a person’s life — diet, physical activity, and medications — affect blood glucose levels. The app can also help participants identify how their food choices and activity relate to their glucose levels, enabling them to clearly see correlations and take more active roles in their own well‑being."

Share the Journey:

"The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Penn Medicine, and Sage Bionetworks developed their Share the Journey app to learn more about the long-term effects of the chemotherapy used in treating breast cancer. The app enables participants to easily provide detailed information about energy levels, cognitive abilities, and mood. The study could illuminate ways to offer patients a better post-treatment quality of life."

MyHeart Counts:

"Stanford Medicine and the University of Oxford have collaborated to create the MyHeart Counts app. It uses surveys and tasks to help researchers more accurately evaluate how participants’ activity and lifestyle relate to their risks of cardiovascular disease. By identifying these correlations, researchers can begin to better understand how to keep hearts healthier."

While the software is open source, you have complete control over the studies you enter. You download the apps as you would any other for iPhone and you can contribute as little or as much as you want.

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CEO Tim Cook was also keen to stress that while you'll be submitting information to the organisations, Apple will never see the data, alleviating fears that your medical information might be used for anything other than research purposes.

With Apple having now sold its 700 millionth iPhone, the company is hoping that through sheer scale of numbers researchers will be able to gain invaluable insights into some of the world's most misunderstood diseases.