Additional Reading & Resources

Included below are resources available to entrants in the Challenge. Use of these resources is optional, but encouraged.


ResearchKit is an open-source software kit designed specifically for medical and health research; it simplifies the creation of iPhone apps that can help physicians and scientists gather data from willing participants. The framework allows researchers to circumvent the development of custom code for common tasks such as sharing, storage, and syncing of research data. It helps to create apps to recruit human subjects in research, present informed-consent materials, create surveys and tasks, and monitor sensors interoperable with smartphone technology. ResearchKit works seamlessly with Apple HealthKit, a suite of applications that can interact with iPhone’s accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope, GPS sensors, and external hardware such as glucometers, inhalers, and other existing and newly developed sensors. These capabilities could help monitor a participant’s gait, motor impairment, physical fitness, speech, and memory, to name just a few. Additional hardware extensions are frequently developed and available.

It is important to note that the ResearchKit framework does not include a data management solution. The framework can be used with a data management solution only after IRB approval of the human health study with consideration of the provider’s data privacy and security practices.

Apple’s ResearchKit debuted in March 2015 with five opt-in health research apps, now available for free public download, created by the teams of researchers and developers from Sage Bionetworks, Stanford, Oxford, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Penn Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and others. In the three months after Research Kit’s debut, more than 70,000 participants volunteered to use their smartphones to share personal health data that could improve medical research in diabetes, asthma, breast cancer, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular diseases.

The Challenge’s choice of iPhone as the platform does not reflect any endorsement of Apple Inc. and Apple’s products in the Challenge, rather, it is a response to Apple’s release of a set of tools specifically intended for use in health research.



The links below detail the technical specifications, including available sensors, of recent iPhone models.

This website contains information and resources from public and private organizations that may be useful to the reader. Inclusion of this information does not constitute an endorsement by New Venture Fund, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or Luminary Labs of any products or services offered or views expressed. 

This website also contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations, which are provided for the reader’s convenience. NVF, RWJF, and Luminary Labs are not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.