Earlier this year we wrote about a collaboration between Cambridge Cognition and Ctrl Group to develop “apps using a wearable device to monitor real-time activity, sleep, communication, media habits, and more.” Well, they’ve done it. Called the Cognition Kit, the wearable software platform can help scientists, physicians, and the general public get a better hand on how physical and psychological factors affect cognition. Cognition’s definition reads “the activities of thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.”
According to the World Health Organization, more than 450 million people are currently living with mental illness. The cost of treatment is expected to double from today’s expenditure to $6 trillion by 2030. Mental illness causes more disability than any other factor worldwide.
The team tested the Cognition Kit with the Microsoft Band 2 wearable, chosen for its wide range of sensors. The team claims the kit is adaptable for devices from other major wearable brands. During the test, three things happened: sensor recording; mini cognition testing; and subject reporting. The wearable continuously measured and recorded heart rate, galvanic skin response, and skin temperature. Each day at multiple times the subjects took short “micro tests” of cognition directly on the Microsoft Band 2. After each of the cognition tests, the subjects were asked how they felt – they answered by selecting one of six mood faces. In a two-week study, the team gathered more than 30 million data points. From that data, the researchers were able to see patterns that correlated mood and physiological data with cognitive performance on the micro tests.
The Cognition Kit is now ready for more trials and development. In the meantime actively seeks contracts from pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers that could use the Cognition Kit to show outcomes of treatments. The kit also has promise for early detection of mental health problems.