Intel unveiled plans to use wearable gadgets such as smart watches to monitor patients with Parkinson's disease and collect data that can be shared with researchers.
On Wednesday, the chip maker said it is teaming up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to conduct a multi-phase research study of the neurodegenerative brain disease.
The initial goal is to determine the feasibility of using wearable devices to monitor patients remotely and store that data in an open system that can be accessed by scientists.
In the next phase of the study, the foundation will set aside funds to explore how patients are responding to medication. Participants will be monitored via an array of wearable devices.
"As more of these devices hit the market, we can collect objective measurements and determine the efficacy of new therapeutics," Sohini Chowdhury, a senior vice president for research partnerships at the foundation, told Reuters.
Clinical trials have been far too "subjective" in the past, she said. For instance, a patient might inform her doctor that she felt a tremor for several minutes, when it actually lasted a matter of seconds. In the future, Chowdhury hopes patients and their doctors will have more precise measurements via wearable devices about the "frequency and severity" of symptoms.
As it expands beyond the PC arena, Intel hopes to capture a share of the growing market for big data analytics and wearable devices in the health sector.