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The Department of Defense (DoD), through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is using predictive analytics on smartphones to track the health of service members. The DoD wants to eventually deploy this technology through a $5.1 million contract with Kryptowire.

Kryptowire, a startup funded by the Department of Homeland Security, specializes in mobile app security. They are working on a technology that gathers and aggregates data from smart phone sensors, both in clinical trials and in actual everyday use, to help improve health.

Smartphones for Servicemen’s Health

Kryptowire’s technology is part of DARPA’s program called the Warfighter Analytics using Smartphones for Health, designed to assess a person’s various physiological signals in real time. This can also monitor health remotely, track medication use and adherence, and even smartly detect any illness or physical impairment.

Can a smartphone detect illness? Yes, with Kryptowire’s technology

DARPA Program Manager, Angelos Keromytis, MD, explained how this technology is beneficial to servicemen all over the country.

“Currently, understanding and assessing the readiness of the warfighter involves medical intervention with the help of advanced equipment,” he said, “such as electrocardiographs and other specialized medical devices, that are too expensive and cumbersome to employ continuously or without supervision in non-controlled environments.”

He explained that in this smartphone era, only about 92% of adults in the US actually own a cell phone. A smartphone is essential for this technology to work. “[It] could be used as the basis for continuous, passive health, and readiness assessment,” he added.

Kryptowire’s new tech is built to work on both iOS and Android smartphones—the two leading operating systems in mobile technology. It has several positive features, according to their officials.  The tech allows secure access control to device data, ease of deployment at scale, data anonymization, and  transparent data collection.

More Than Just for Service Members

The priority of Kryptowire is to assess service members’ health through their program. Experts believe that the technology may be very well used beyond that purpose.

The company revealed that their aim is to develop it as a customer-facing technology eventually. This allows the detection of health problems to be as early and accurate as possible.

Kryptowire’s CEO Angelos Stavrou explained the company’s many plans for their disruptive technology. “Our strategy is to leverage the full power of mobile to collect health metrics in all patient settings,” he said. He elaborated that it could be for “continuous monitoring, from clinic to home, and to build the ground truth from all available data, including smartphone sensors, clinical studies, medical examinations etc. for a better-informed, real-time approach to disease detection and biomarker identification.”

With each bold idea, there will be people who will doubt each and every aspect. Critics say Kryptowire’s monitoring technology may pose concerns, especially regarding privacy and security as it uses a smartphone’s camera, microphone, and sensors to detect any health-related issues and monitoring of vitals.

Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, explained why. “People don’t want to feel like someone is listening in on their private life. That’s going to have to be subject to tight controls,” he said.

This bold, life-changing and life-saving technology may turn some people off. It will be up to Kryptowire to address these potential concerns.