New Interview Offers 'Inside Look' at Potential Origin of ResearchKit

ResearchKit, Apple's new open-source medical framework, was one of the unexpected announcements during the company's Spring Forward media event. Dr. Stephen Friend, one of the key members of the ResearchKit team, talked about the potential genesis of the project in a new interview with Fusion (via iMore).

ResearchKit
In September 2013, nearly one and a half years before ResearchKit was unveiled, Friend was at Stanford's MedX conference giving a talk about the future of medical research. He explained how he envisioned an open source system where users could upload their medical data to the cloud for researchers to use in trials.

Sitting in the audience that day was Michael O'Reilly, M.D., the former Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Medical Affairs at Masimo Corporation, a pulse oximetry company. O'Reilly had just left Masimo to join Apple, and wanted to build something that could "implement Friend's vision of a patient-centered, medical research utopia and radically change the way clinical studies are done."

After Friend’s talk, O’Reilly approached the doctor, and, in typical tight-lipped Apple fashion, said: “I can’t tell you where I work, and I can’t tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you,” Friend recalls. Friend was intrigued, and agreed to meet for coffee.

Shortly after his meeting with O'Reilly, Friend started making frequent trips to Apple's HQ in Cupertino, meeting with scientists and engineers. He also organized a DARPA-funded workshop exploring how biosensors could potentially help doctors and scientists understand Parkinson's Disease.

Euan Ashley, a Stanford University investigator behind the myHeart app, told Fusion that Apple largely acted as a "facilitator", building the ResearchKit framework in the background as the researchers designed and built the first ResearchKit apps by themselves. However, Apple did go meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration three months before the Spring Forward event to talk about medical research and smooth over any potential regulatory concerns.

Friend noted that even though his open-source ideals didn't totally mesh with Apple's view on open source at the time, he wanted to work with them rather than competitors like Google and Microsoft because Apple is a hardware company that doesn't need to sell data, and that he believed Apple when the company said it wouldn't look at the data being used in ResearchKit.

However, both Apple and Friend decided not to make the true origin of ResearchKit clear to Fusion. It's unknown whether the idea was Friend's or if Apple was developing it before Friend joined the team.

Thus far, ResearchKit has been a success for Apple, receiving thousands of sign-ups less than 24 hours after it was unveiled. In that time frame, 11,000 people signed up for one of the ResearchKit apps, myHeart Counts.

The rest of the interview also provides a good look at ResearchKit and can be read at Fusion's website.

Top Rated Comments

peterh988 Avatar
80 months ago
"I can't tell you where I work, and I can't tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you,"

Friend started making frequent trips to Apple's HQ in Cupertino, meeting with scientists and engineers.

Got a mental image of him sitting in the back of a blacked out van with a black hood over his head! :)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
80 months ago
"I can't tell you where I work, and I can't tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you,"



Got a mental image of him sitting in the back of a blacked out van with a black hood over his head! :)

When I read that line, I did it in Liam Neeson voice as Bryan Mills from Taken.

Liam: "I can't tell you where I work, and I can't tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you."

Doc: "Okaaaay. What's this about?"

Liam: "I'll contact you later,but know this, what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that..."

On topic. This can be a very good thing. Especially if it is truly open source. If it become proprietary it's still a good thing, but less so.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
stanman64 Avatar
80 months ago
in my mac notification center, this popped up as "New Interview Offers 'Inside Look' at Pot"


of course I clicked on it.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2457282 Avatar
80 months ago
Nothing in this article is worth the usual sarcastic and cynical treatment here. This is a good thing - open source, free (yes somewhat redudant), no data selling, and helpful to mankind.

I say YEAH!!!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
stu.h Avatar
80 months ago
This can only be a positive thing for patients worldwide.

Go Apple!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JeffyTheQuik Avatar
80 months ago
From what was a damn average keynote, looking back, researchkit was a positive, rhat and the MacBook . I hope apple sticks with it
This was a "wow" moment for me. I've been in research studies before, and the telemetry of the studies is horrible. It relies on people (me) remembering where they were, what they did, and what the results were when the data was taken.

This makes it far easier, because it puts the responsibility on the doctor team to think this stuff through, rather than the patient trying to figure stuff out.

Here's how it went for the study I was in:
Test blood sugar
Write it down on this piece of paper.
Write down what you ate
Write down what were doing the 3 hours before/after eating
Turn this in at the next appointment, where it's like a doctor appointment, where you wait an hour before being seen, and being told that you're not doing it right.

Here's how I envision Research Kit:
Blood tester and/or CGM is BT enabled, and communicates with app on iPhone, which feeds to Health app, which ResearchKit app can pull from
Activity is tracked (ran 4 miles is more accurately seen as "ran 6.2 mph for 40 minutes")
Eating is a problem, but give the recipients a scale that tracks what they eat (I have one of these, and it attaches to Health app)
It transmits daily to the research doctors.

I see the errors in translation and input going way down, and relevant information going way up.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...
duan rui iphone 12 13 notch

New Images Show Smaller iPhone 13 Notch Compared to iPhone 12

Saturday April 17, 2021 11:38 pm PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has shared more images that could give us our best look yet at Apple's redesigned notch for the iPhone 13. The new pictures follow similar images shared by the leaker last week, but the latest shots include a comparison with the existing iPhone 12 notch. DuanRui posted three images on Twitter that apparently originate from Weibo, although source details remain...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
important battery message iphone 11

Some iPhone 11 Users Seeing Increased Battery Health Percentages After iOS 14.5 Recalibration Process

Friday April 16, 2021 6:32 am PDT by
In the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a recalibration process for the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate battery health estimates for some users. Apple said this process might take a few weeks to be completed, and now that two weeks have passed since the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 was released, some users are...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
parler app

Apple Approves Parler to Return to App Store

Monday April 19, 2021 7:51 am PDT by
Following the removal of the app in January, Apple will now allow the social media app Parler to return to the App Store following changes to how the social media network moderates content, CNN reports. On April 14, in a letter to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck obtained by CNN, Apple said that the app has improved the way it moderates content, and says those changes are "sufficient" for it...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

LTPO Displays Supporting 120Hz Refresh Rates Again Rumored for iPhone 13 Pro Models

Friday April 16, 2021 10:01 am PDT by
The two higher-end "iPhone 13 Pro" models that are coming in 2021 are expected to use LTPO display technology to enable 120Hz refresh rates, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young reaffirmed the detail in a tweet that said he'd heard rumors about only one model featuring LTPO, which he says is inaccurate. Heard some rumors in the industry and media that there would only be one ...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack

Thursday April 15, 2021 9:39 am PDT by
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in...