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DARPA awards contract to develop an app that monitors soldiers’ health

The Pentagon wants to monitor service member health through the use of smartphones.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) announced that it has awarded a $5.1 million contract to Kryptowire to develop an app that monitors the health of deployed U.S. Service Members, writes Aaron Gregg for The Washington Post. The “Warfighter Analytics using Smartphones for Health” program (WASH), would spot diseases based on data collected from a user’s smartphone.

The WASH development program began last year and runs through 2021, reports Gregg. The aim of the program is helping the military work through some of its healthcare issues, while conserving resources. According to the The Washington Post, the app will collect data from smartphone features including cameras, light sensors, fingerprint sensors, microphones and other sources. DARPA’s head of communications explained that “the program aims to develop algorithms that use raw data from smartphone sensors to enable continuous and real-time assessment” of service members’ health status in an effort to find latent or developing conditions and diseases.

Tom Karygiannis, Kryptowire’s vice president of product, believes that although this product’s initial purpose is for military use, it will one day be available to all consumers. “Ultimately, this could mean better treatment, cost savings and making treatment available to more people,” he said. Chris Shipley, managing partner of Ascent Line Partners (a market strategy consultancy) predicts that DARPA’s involvement could mean the technology will reach the commercial market relatively quickly.

“The fact that this is being deployed in a DARPA-funded application is going to be a great learning space for how they can be used in a consumer context,” he said.

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