Apple is reportedly developing a method for detecting childhood autism using the iPhone’s camera, according to reports. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is working on ways to use data from iPhone cameras to observe a child’s behavior in order to aid in the diagnosis of a disease at an early stage.
In accordance with the report, Apple will use the camera built into the iPhone to study a child’s face and facial behaviors, such as how often they sway back and forth, in order to identify potential markers of childhood autism. According to the report, “Apple has a third brain-related research partnership with Duke University that it hasn’t disclosed. According to the documents and people who are familiar with the work, it aims to develop an algorithm to aid in the detection of childhood autism,” the report states.
According to the report, Apple may be attempting to run algorithms for early detection of autism locally on a user’s device as part of its privacy push. For the sake of protecting the user’s privacy, no data will be collected and stored in a cloud for processing. It is stated in the Journal that the research is still in its preliminary stages. However, it points out that while these features may never be implemented as a user-facing feature, Apple had invested in a number of heart-focused studies prior to the release of an array of related features on the Apple Watch.
In related news, Apple is reportedly developing tools and making AI-driven software available to iPhone users in order to track their mental well-being. In accordance with The Wall Street Journal, Apple believes that the iPhone already has sufficient hardware capabilities and data on a user’s physical activities, such as sleep, to determine whether or not the user is suffering from depression. Besides developing technology to detect signs of depression, Apple is said to be “developing technology to assist in the diagnosis of depression and cognitive decline.”
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