Apple iPhone may detect depression and anxiety by scanning face of users in future

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Iphone 13
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The latest iPhones have powerful face-scanning technology and a fresh report suggests that Apple is going to use this technology to detect depression and anxiety among users by scanning their faces.

Apple is reportedly working on a new feature for iPhones that would detect mental health conditions like depression, anxiety in users. Anew report says that Apple has collaborated with the University of California, Los Angeles and pharmaceutical company Biogen for the iPhone feature that would help in detecting depression and cognitive decline. It has been reported that Apple will utilise biometric data of users to tell them about their mental health condition.

A Wall Street Journal report notes that for the feature Apple may use sensor data that includes amount of sleep in a day, mobility, physical activities and how the user types on their phone to determine whether the user is suffering from depression or cognitive decline. Other data that Apple would use include facial expression analysis and heart rates using the powerful face scanning hardware in the iPhone.

In fact, the report notes that the feature is already undergoing testing. The University of California, Los Angeles is studying stress, anxiety and depression with Apple Watch and iPhone data for 3,000 users who have volunteered to be tracked in the study.

The Apple project in collaboration with UCLA has been codenamed “Seabreeze” while the other project with Biogen has been codenamed “Pi”. The project was reportedly piloted in 2020, Apple recorded data of 150 users who had volunteered for Apple’s special project.

A project like this, which uses biometric and health data, will inevitably raise privacy concerns. However, Apple has made preparations to address them. The company is reportedly working on an algorithm that works on the iPhone in offline mode and doesn’t send the data to Apple servers.