APPLE HAS ANNOUNCED that its ResearchKit framework, designed to gather and analyse medical data under a common umbrella, is to be made available to researchers from today after 60,000 iPhone users signed up to join in the first few weeks.
Participants in the programme have data from their IoT wearable devices anonymised and then fed into the system which can then use the resulting big data to analyse and look for patterns, links, causes and cures.
The initial stages of the programme include initiatives around asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson's.
From today, these launch partners can be joined by anyone wishing to use the open source framework to create their own apps or contribute to the framework to augment its potential.
“We are delighted and encouraged by the response to ResearchKit from the medical and research community and the participants contributing to medical research,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations.
"Studies that historically attracted a few hundred participants are now attracting participants in the tens of thousands.
“Medical researchers all over the world are actively exploring how ResearchKit can help them study even more diseases, and we believe the impact on global understanding of health and wellness will be profound.”
Apple is keen to emphasise throughout its literature for the initiative that opt-in is voluntary, by strict permission, and anonymous. Whether the tin-foil hat brigade is happy with this as an acquittal remains to be seen.
The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement by IBM that the firm is to launch its own health division for its Watson supercomputer, and that this will tie in closely with the work being done by Apple and its partners.
Apple and IBM joined forces in July last year in an initiative to push iPhones and iPads into the enterprise. µ
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