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Clinical Trials & Research

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SensorKit (part 1): Answering novel questions

What is SensorKit?

SensorKit is a framework supported by Apple Inc. that enables investigators to obtain highly granular movement, environmental, and device interaction data elements from study participants with iPhones & paired Apple watches.

SensorKit currently supports the following sensors:

  • Accelerometer

  • Ambient Light Sensor

  • Ambient Pressure

  • Device Usage Report

  • Keyboard Metrics

  • Messages Usage Report

  • On Wrist State (Apple Watch)

  • Pedometer Data

  • Phone Usage Report

  • Rotation Rate

  • Siri Speech Metrics (iOS 15+)

  • Telephony Speech Metrics (iOS 15+)

  • Visits

Who should leverage SensorKit?

SensorKit allows researchers to investigate relationships that are difficult to measure in a clinic or even through remote, interactive assessments. By passively collecting granular data (some with precise time stamps) from consenting participants, a more complete picture of their daily lives can emerge.

While all requests for participant data should be based on research needs, for SensorKit, it is even more critical to ensure this participant data is absolutely necessary to your research. Given the magnitude of personal data made available to researchers using SensorKit, Apple requires the submission and review of a research proposal prior to SensorKit authorization in order to verify research relevance and protect participant privacy.

So when might these data be relevant? Perhaps you are seeking to understand the relationship between social media mobile apps and movement, ambient light and mood—as reported by an ecological momentary assessment (EMA)—or speech and Parkinson’s symptoms. SensorKit provides the framework to collect novel data to answer these kinds of novel questions.

How is SensorKit implemented?

You’ll be required to complete a research proposal and develop a mobile application or identify one, such as MyDataHelps™, through which eConsent and SensorKit permissioning will be completed. Once your mobile application is ready and your SensorKit research proposal is approved, you’ll be ready to enroll participants and begin collecting SensorKit data!

Our second post in this series—Powering your study with SensorKit data—will provide a more complete overview of implementing SensorKit with MyDataHelps™.

Ready to implement SensorKit into your clinical trials?
Contact us to get started!