For most smartphone users, one’s life is funneled through their handset in some manner, whether through searches or messages or other activities. In the grander scheme of things, the device also gathers behavioral data, including things like one’s call record and location. Using this information, startup Ginger.io envisions identifying mental illnesses and their related symptoms when they arise.
Ginger.io’s idea is simple: through using behavioral data, the startup’s app would monitor the habits and activities of individuals with a mental illness (or who perhaps had one in the past) and put up an alert when red flags are spotted. In this case, the alert comes in the form of a text message sent to both the handset’s user and to their doctor.
The kind of warning signs looked for are things like below average levels of messaging, lethargy as indicated by less movement, and more. These changes in habit could indicate depression or other symptoms related to one’s illness.
The system is based on research performed by MIT’s Media Lab, and is being used by patients scattered amongst more than 25 health care providers, among others. The app is also being used for research, with one such trial being done by the University of California at Davis, monitoring minors that have been diagnosed with psychosis.