How are scientists creating the Google Maps of human health?

Answer: Project Baseline

by / April 20, 2017
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

If you wear a device like a fitness tracker all day, every day, you’ve likely accumulated a wealth of data about your body and habits. But what if someone were to bring together all the data from all the wearables out there to see how it could be used to learn more about human health?

That’s the basic goal of Project Baseline. Verily, a life sciences subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced Wednesday a call for 10,000 healthy participants to join a study to create “the Google Maps of health.” Participants will be given a Study Watch, a smartwatch to wear every day that will measure not just heart rate and activity level, but also more detailed data like electrodermal activity. They’ll also receive a sleep tracker to place under their mattress, and make four in-person clinic visits each year, as well as take surveys and fill out diaries about health and lifestyle.

The idea is to create a “baseline” for human health, and ultimately researchers would like to analyze the massive amount of human data to try to learn where and how diseases begin and spot their early warning signs.