A new Fitbit patent focuses on detecting depression and bipolar disorder.
, by raj, 9 min reading time
The business has filed a new patent for technology that uses physiological data to investigate mental well-being. Fitbit appears to be focusing on those who have clinical mental health difficulties. The patent is ambiguous regarding the mental health problem it is addressing, although it expressly includes depression and bipolar disorder. It's also developed a gadget that can "test for and anticipate mental health disorders and cognitive states." The Fitbit Stress Score is an indicator of how stressed you are. Fitbit discusses the use of resting heart rate and sleep data, as well as how Fitbit interprets this data to determine mental wellness. Surprisingly, gamification is heavily featured in the patent. The patent describes how video games are now used to measure mental health, and there appears to be a technological component to this. Figures 1A and 1D demonstrate games on the Fitbit wearable, which would presumably be utilised in tandem with sensor data to measure cognitive states. The patent abstract also mentions utilising the microphone to analyse the user's voice, which might disclose mental health indications. Fitbit also mentions that voice data has been used in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, but that this would need a "long analysis time" on the gadget. This technology would be used to "predict, model, and correlate with mental health events and diseases," according to Fitbit. Conor Heneghan, a Fitbit (and Google) Senior Staff Research Scientist who has been at the forefront of creating several of the company's sleep-related features, is named in the patent. Fitbit appears to be looking beyond stress and EDA-based statistics and towards more severe, clinical mental health concerns. Millions more individuals may benefit from your Fitbit if it could operate as a predictor, in whatever shape that would take.
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