A UNSW pilot study will use Apple Watches and iPhones to provide new insights into self-perceptions around age and gender.
The pilot project will follow 140 adults aged 18-85 years for eight weeks. Each participant will use a purpose-built Labs Without Walls research app on an iPhone paired with an Apple Watch.
Participants in the project will be asked to respond to short surveys, complete short game-like cognitive and sensory tasks, and provide passive health and environmental data collected using Apple Watch.
UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise Professor Nicholas Fisk said the project positions UNSW researchers at the forefront of using new technologies to transform the quality of long-term research.
“The insights our researchers can generate using this new technology is ground-breaking. They will be able to monitor how self-perceptions of ageing and gender fluctuate in near real-time and in combination with a wide variety of other factors influencing our health, cognition, and wellbeing,” Prof. Fisk said.
“I’m proud that our researchers are embarking on this novel study in Australia. The Apple Watch and iPhone will greatly assist our understanding of the ageing process and allow our researchers to answer research questions that were just not possible using traditional methods.”
Researchers leading this study include Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey and Co-investigator Brooke Brady, both from UNSW Science and the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute.
“Personal, social, and environmental factors can impact how old a person feels and how they express themselves in the real world,” Prof. Anstey said. “Our research will explore how two important characteristics that make us unique – our perceived age and our gender expression – may change across days, weeks and months, and among people of different generations.
“By making use of newly available approaches to remote data collection, we can embed research in our participants’ everyday lives. This Labs Without Walls approach has fantastic promise for improving the accessibility and inclusion of research.”
Through its Investigator Initiated Research Program, Apple is supplying Apple Watches for participants in this study to support the efforts of researchers.