Smartphone – man’s new best friend

I have just learned of a fascinating idea, explored by a brainy individual at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has written a dissertation expounding the ability of your [insert favoured smartphone handset] to detect when its operator is feeling a bit under the weather.

The research for the paper entitled Social Evolution: Opinions and Behaviours in Face-to-Face Networks used mobile phone sensors to model the spread of opinions and behaviours in “face-to-face networks”. Based on over 320,000 hours of data from participants, Anmol Madan was able to conclude that, “In the context of epidemiology, we find that changes in interaction patterns are a powerful predictor of physical and mental health symptoms”.

Now, not only can your smartphone locate where you are in the world and guide you to your next destination, wake you up, bring you the morning paper and lull you to sleep with your favourite song, it will soon be able to alert you when you’re coming down with a cold, or succumbing to a bout of depression.

The MIT brain is now joining forces with two other alumni to launch, which uses an Android app to collect SMS data, calling data and location data, so when these behaviours change in a way that signals something could be wrong, your phone will let you know.

The Lassie of the smartphone app market, if you will.


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