IBM wants its supercomputer Watson to help you get healthy — by analysing your genes. A startup called Pathway Genomics is teaming up with IBM to create a fitness and diet tracking app that uses DNA sequencing and Watson's intelligence to give custom health recommendations.
The app is called Pathway Panorama and it will take the gene sequencing and analysis offered by the genomics firm and combine it with IBM's artificially intelligent machine, Watson, which will be able to digest the DNA data into suggestions on what to eat, how to exercise, and when to take medication. It won't replace a doctor, but it will be a tool for keeping healthy on a day-to-day basis.
Pathway Genomics's chief medical officer Michael Nova wrote in a blog post that the app should be available by mid 2015, and described how specific it could get:
Say you've just flown from your house on the coast to a city that's 10,000 feet above sea level. You might want to ask how far you could safely run on your first day after getting off the plane — and at what pulse rate should you slow your jogging pace.
Or say you're diabetic and you're in a city you have never visited before. You had a pastry for breakfast and you want to know when you should take your next shot of insulin. In an emergency, you'll be able to find specialised healthcare providers near where you are who can take care of you.
This kind of hyper-personalised health recommendation service could gain a huge following if executed correctly. There aren't pricing details, though Nova said there would be a small monthly fee, and I'm assuming people will have to pay to get their genome or part of their genome sequenced. If this app can do what it says it can do, they will be able to charge a premium rate because it will be amazing.
Watson has already been put to work helping veterans adapt to civilian life and inventing recipes, but if this partnership holds up, it'd be a big step to turn Watson into big business. [Popular Science]