Google Life Sciences has announced that it will embark on a project that will develop sensors that can measure your behavior or read the state of your mind, the Daily Mail reports.
The report says that the technology firm has recently taken on Dr. Thomas Insel, who has been the director of the National Institute for Mental Health for 13 years. Insel is a neuroscientist and a psychiatrist. He is likewise a leading authority on medicine and public policies about mental health.
Insel will be leading a group who will take charge of developing sensors that will analyse people's language for early signs of psychosis. The device can also monitor anxiety, or set the right time for a person to take clinical tests.
During the Chicago Ideas Week, Insel said that "Technology can have greater impact on mental healthcare than on the care for heart disease, diabetes, cancer or other diseases." The timeline he gave for the development of usable devices or sensorial wearables was within five years.
Despite the fact that Insel himself still is not sure about what his particular job at Google Life Sciences will entail, he does know that it involves using technology in detecting, diagnosing, and treating mental illness.
Providing a solution in this area is important, Insel says, especially that suicide incidents have not been reduced due to the inability of the US' health system to deal efficiently with mental illness.
Meanwhile, the UK's Telegraph reports that Google is not the only tech firm that is blazing a trail in this area. Apple, IBM and Intel are also making explorations in the same field, with IBM partnering with Columbia University in this year alone, to research into the computer analysis of speech patterns to accurately predict the onset of psychosis.
This is not the only area that tech wants to look into. The report says other researchers want to draw a connection between data gathered from an individual's Internet search history or shopping habits that can be spotted from a loyalty card to a person's mental well-being.
Given these early signs, experts say that wearable technology will grow in popularity in the years to come. To date a growing demographic use FitBits, Jawbones and other tiny wearable devices to monitor movements, pulse rate, sleep patterns and other physical conditions.
The trend of "self-monitoring" has the potential to transform the future direction of healthcare. With this kind of technology, people with certain conditions can track their symptoms and thus streamline and simplify, as well as reduce the costs of their medical routine.