Specialists at DigiHealth, a laboratory dedicated to medical technology research at the University of San Diego in California, are using a curious device to study possible symptoms that indicate the development of Alzheimer’s Disease – none other than the Pixel 4, an “ancient” cell phone. top of the line Google released in 2019.
As you can imagine, the smartphone in question is not used by chance. The main camera of the Google Pixel 4 has an advanced facial recognition system with its infrared sensors that, in addition to serving to unlock the cell phone, now also will allow you to track signs of the disease by observing the user’s eyes.
People at risk of developing the disease begin to show signs even before the appearance of characteristic symptoms – such as mental confusion and delirium. One of the precursor stages is the pupil dilation after experiencing cognitive stimulias repetition of analog sequences of numbers.
As explained by Colin Barry, PhD at the University of San Diego, the system is able to distinguish the iris from the pupil even in dark eyes by operating with infrared sensors, which analyze the vibrations of the spectrum invisible to humans.
It should be noted that the iPhone also has a 3D sensor for facial biometrics (the infamous “True Depth” that enables Face ID), but while Apple makes API kits available for medical research, iOS is a very “closed” operating system that limits the possibilities offered by an Android.
Many may question why the use of such an “old” model in the mobile industry standards. This decision can be justified by the fact that the Google Pixel 5, released in 2020, does not support facial recognition. The Google Pixel 6 will eventually have this feature, but it’s not as cost-effective as the Pixel 4.
Technologies accessible by the mass of users have become the focus of specialists to transform various products — such as the cell phone itself — into a tool to aid in the diagnosis of diseases. In a related note, the Apple Watch has come to be used as a resource to detect symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.