Building a fitness tracker for the brain: A journey from lab to consumers


  • Dr. Raeanne Moore University of California San Diego
  • Dr. Olu Ajilore University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Dr. Alex Leow University of Illinois at Chicago



In this paper, we discuss our journey as academic entrepreneurs, which began with the market need for objective markers for the diagnosis and assessment of mental health disorders. For most of history, mental health disorders have been chiefly defined by the subjective experiences of people with these disorders -- we know people have a depressive disorder because they feel depressed or that they have a psychotic disorder because they experience hallucinations. The lack of objective markers to track changes in mental health symptoms creates barriers to treatment. To address this, the vision of KeyWise AI is the further development and commercialization of an innovative digital phenotyping technology that turns smartphones into fitness trackers for the brain. Commercializing the generalizable knowledge derived from the ongoing citizen science BiAffect study, our brain fitness-tracking technology supports real-time passive and unobtrusive modeling and monitoring of emotional, behavioral and cognitive processes. The core technology centers around a custom-built smartphone keyboard that replaces the default keyboard, thus allowing for unobtrusive collection of anonymized keyboard dynamics and motor kinetics metadata. The second half of this paper provides general guidelines to help future academic entrepreneurs on their startup journey. 

Author Biographies

Dr. Raeanne Moore, University of California San Diego

Dr. Raeanne Moore is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego (UCSD) Health, Clinical Neuropsychologist, and a co-founder of KeyWise AI. Dr. Moore also serves as Co-Director of UCSD’s Cognitive Dynamics Lab and is faculty at the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS).

Dr. Olu Ajilore , University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Olusola Ajilore is a co-founder of KeyWise AI and the University of Illinois Center for Depression and Resilience Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Ajilore also serves as the Associate Head for Faculty Development and the Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program.

Dr. Alex Leow, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Alex Leow is a Professor in Psychiatry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a co-founder of KeyWise AI. With both a PhD degree in applied mathematics and a medical board certification in adult psychiatry, Dr. Leow leads of the UIC BiAffect study that serves as foundation of KeyWise AI.





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