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Assessing Alzheimer's risk via smartphone tests

From proof of concept app to NIH-funded commercialization.

Technology Architecture
UX / UI Design
Mobile Application Development
Custom Database Development

The Objective

Gad Marshall and Reisa Sperling are some of the world's leading Alzheimer researchers working out of Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital. They approached us with a novel idea - they wanted to develop a smartphone assessment to track the onset of Alzheimer's in at-risk patients. The assessment would measure smartphone "activities of daily living" over time and measure subtle differences in the user's responses. We loved the idea and worked with them from early scoping discussions, all the way through to the grant process and project funding.

The Solution

Their vision was to test patients on a variety of everyday smartphone tasks, such as making a calendar appointment or changing a phone setting. Since the tasks are meant to mirror the typical iPhone experience, the user experience had to be carefully approached. An initial discovery phase, followed by a detailed user experience design phase put the project on an early path to success. Once designs and functionality were finalized, we built the application. Highly custom analytics were required since every click, and the time between clicks, is tracked as an endpoint in the study. ADK built these custom analytics using React.js for the front-end, custom APIs in Python, and a mySQL database.


Dr. Marshall and team needed a partner to take their concept of a smartphone app that would assess the onset of Alzheimer's and turn it into a reality. Every step of the way, ADK served as Dr. Marshall's technology partner to accomplish his vision. The technical challenge was significant, and one that few app development companies in Boston could handle. ADK had the right balance of mobile app strategy, user experience design, and development skillsets in house to realize Dr. Marshall's ambitious vision.