Stanford will hand out 1,000 Apple Watches for new health program

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Apple Watch
Stanford believes in the wellness possibilities of the Apple Watch
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Stanford University has launched a new program, offering faculty members and instructors up to 1,000 Apple Watches and $10,000 in funding to investigate how Apple’s wearable device can be used in healthcare.

“This seed grant program is designed to stimulate and support creative uses of the Apple Watch to address important issues in healthcare,” the Center for Digital Health’s website notes. “We are particularly interested in high impact projects that will positively influence the selected study population and/or clinical workflow.”

Although it seems that the program isn’t available to everyone, if you’re interested in finding out more about the scope, eligibility, funding, selection process, and other requirements, you can check out the information here.

The submission deadline for proposals in February 26, while the project duration is set to last one year, commencing April.

Good news for Apple

The news of Stanford’s seed program is certainly good news for Apple, which has been increasingly venturing into mobile health applications over the past couple of years. While the Apple Watch is currently mainly focused on fitness tracking, wellness is an area the company continues to explore.

Speaking with Bloomberg last year, Tim Cook made clear that health assessment is very much a goal for the Apple Watch. “The holy grail of the watch is being able to monitor more and more of what’s going on in your body. If you could have a device that knew so much about you, it would be incredible, and would extend life and extend quality.”

Apple reportedly had much greater initial ambitions for health-oriented sensors with its smartwatch — included measuring tools for metrics like blood pressure and blood oxygen level — but had to scale back on these due to their unreliability.

Still, as the sensor-packed iPhone, and Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit platforms have shown, there is plenty that can be done with the company’s mobile devices — just so long as a bit of imagination is applied.

With watchOS apps already existing to predict things like seizures, hopefully Stanford’s study will help advance things even more.