The Google Pixel 4 series may not be the newest around, but those phones are now being used for something really important. The Pixel 4 series phones’ face unlock cameras are being used in Alzheimer’s research.
Researchers are using face unlock cameras from the Pixel 4 for Alzheimer’s research
Researchers based in the DigiHealth Lab at UC San Diego, are researching various diseases, including Alzheimer’s. The team is led by Professor Edward Wang, and they’re actually using the Pixel 4, as The Verge revealed in a YouTube video. That video is embedded below the article.
Researchers reveal that Alzheimer’s can be detected via our eyes, specifically the pupil. How is that? Well, a recording of a pupil’s response to specific tasks can identify cognitive impairments, based on how it reacts to those tasks.
Pixel 4 units are using as specialized app
It seems like an app is being used in the process, as well as the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4’s IR cameras are better at detecting the difference between your eye color and the pupil than your regular cameras. That’s why this setup comes in really handy.
Whoever is being tested is required to put their eyes in front of the camera, and then run a memory test. An app records the pupil’s behavior during that test, providing valuable info. That information is then sent to the lab.
A researcher explains that this replaces an exam that would usually be done in a clinical lab, under controlled settings, with specialized hardware that is very pricey. It costs around $10,000. Needless to say, this is much cheaper.
Just to be entirely clear, the Pixel 4 can’t completely replace that device, of course. It can do part of the job, and help researchers with their work.
iPhones are technically eligible as well, but iOS is a problem
You may wonder why iPhones are not being used for this, they do have IR cameras. Well, iOS is the reason. That OS is not as open as Android. An app required to do this job can’t access proper hardware functions.