ResearchKit: Apple harnesses the power of iPhone for medical research

For those of you who have an interest in Medical Research, there has been a very exciting development made in the field by Apple.

ResearchKit is Apple’s opt-in program for users to share their HealthKit data with medical researchers hoping to tackle a wide array of diseases.

ResearchKit will be an open source effort that pulls data from multiple sources including the Apple Watch and iPhone. It officially launches next month, but the first five applications are available today for interested users.

Apple’s launch partners for ResearchKit represent some of the premier medical institutions today, places like Penn Medicine, Stanford Medicine, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. For an example of one of the partnerships manifesting in the first five apps, Williams explained mPower. This allows anyone with an iPhone to contribute to Parkinson’s research by turning their device into a diagnostic tool. mPower includes a tapping test to evaluate hand tremors, a microphone “ahh” test to assess vocal chord variations, and a walk-test where the iPhone precisely measures a user’s gait. Other initial apps address medical initiatives such as breast cancer, asthma, and diabetes.

ResearchKit could offer scientists a sample size that was previously a rare occurrence. Apple CEO Tim Cook believes ResearchKit will change medical research in a way which is truly profound.