MIT researchers use smart phones to monitor health

Phones Old NewThis article by John Tozzi reports on how MIT researchers are using smartphones to monitor a patient’s daily activity and report deviations to friends or doctors should they may need to intervene.

Although the trials are in early stages and there are still regulatory and personal privacy issues to resolve, it seems telephones can reveal a lot about our mood, health, and cognitive ability. Intel’s Eric Dishman explains this in a video on our Healthcare Problems & Solutions page where he uses an old, analog, rotary-dial phone to show subtle differences in how someone answers the phone as dementia sets in.

Besides just recording call frequency, duration, who called, etc., smartphones can report much more. They can monitor movement outside of the home – or even inside with an accelerometer, and of course, there are many medical sensors that can communicate through the smartphone to remote monitoring services. For related articles on sensor technologies for home healthcare, search this site for “sensors.” You’ll see that Home Automation sensors and wearable devices can obscurely monitor activity when someone doesn’t have a smartphone on them, but the phone seems like an ideal device for this purpose.

MIT’s work analyzing smartphone data relates to other interesting trends including DNA typing and personal traits typing. They are all data mining applications that depend on the analysis of massive databases – big data – and can lead toward personalized medicine.