Researchers want to turn your iPhone into a mood ring

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Your iPhone could soon track your mood as well as your steps.
Photo: Apple

Your Apple devices might be able to help you track steps, workouts and more, but as of yet no iPhone, Apple Watch (or, let’s face it, any other gadget out there) has been able to accurately measure mental and emotional conditions.

That could be changing due to the so-called “Mood Challenge” program from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program calls for researchers and technologists to come up with a way of convincingly tracking mood using an iPhone and ResearchKit — and it’s just announced its five semi-finalists.

Apple hires top medical researcher to boost health game

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Stephen Friend is the latest medical guru to join Apple.
Stephen Friend is the latest medical guru to join Apple.
Photo: TED

One of the biggest names in medical research has joined Apple and will likely provide a huge boost to the company’s medical efforts.

Stephen Friend, co-founder and former president of Sage Bionetworks, accepted a job at Apple recently, and although the two sides are keeping quiet on what exactly Friend will be doing, he’ll likely be one of the leaders of the company’s growing digital health team.

Apple hires Google X Lab co-founder to work on health projects

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Apple's latest hire specialized at building robotic hands.
Apple's latest hire specialized at building robotic hands.
Photo: University of Washington/Flickr

Apple has added yet another wicked smart talent to its ranks recently by hiring famed robotics expert Yoky Matsuoka.

Yoky was working as the head of technology at Nest before joining Apple. She was also one of the co-founders of Google’s X Lab and is a MacArthur genius award winner.

The biggest takeaways from Apple’s tiniest keynote in years

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A size for every hand.
A size for every hand.
Photo: Apple

Evolution, not revolution, was the tone of today’s low-key Apple event. Smaller is better, says Apple, with two big product “reveals” that show off compact new devices with impressive internals.

While most of the announcements today have already been discussed and dissected, like the 4-inch iPhone SE, new Apple Watch bands and a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, there were a couple of surprises.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Apple’s oddly low-key “Let us loop you in” event.

ResearchKit is taking aim at hepatitis C

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ResearchKit is just as revolutionary as researchers hoped.
ResearchKit is just as revolutionary as researchers hoped.
Photo: Apple

ResearchKit is already helping medical researchers make groundbreaking discoveries in areas like Parkinsons disease, autism, and cardiovascular disease. Now the open source software is being put to use to study hepatitis C, a virus we know little about, even though over 3 million Americas suffer from it.

New ResearchKit projects will help tackle autism, epilepsy and melanoma

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ResearchKit is just as revolutionary as researchers hoped.
ResearchKit is continuing to revolutionize medicine.
Photo: Apple

Apple today announced it is expanding its ResearchKit health platform to include new studies on autism, epilepsy and melanoma.

Apple will work with leading universities and research centers including Duke University, John Hopkins, and Oregon Health & Science University.

“We’re honored to work with world-class medical institutions and provide them with tools to better understand diseases and ultimately help people lead healthier lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations.

ResearchKit apps are now available outside the U.S.

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ResearchKit is expanding beyond the U.S.
ResearchKit is expanding beyond the U.S.
Photo: Apple

ResearchKit has already helped scientist make some breakthroughs in the study of diseases like Parkinsons, but the apps powered by Apple’s open-source health software haven’t been made available internationally. Starting today, iOS users in the U.K. and Hong Kong can get in on the ResearchKit action too, thanks to the MyHearth Counts app, which was just made available to to people outside of the U.S. for the first time.