ResearchKit Active Tasks Now Integrated on ResearchDroid

by Priya Menon
Finger tapping
Finger Tapping Active Task on Android

The ResearchKit™ framework includes a number of predefined tasks called Active Tasks. Active tasks invite users to perform activities under partially controlled conditions while phone sensors are used to collect data. For example, an active task for analyzing gait and balance might ask the user to walk a short distance, while collecting accelerometer data on the device. The ResearchDroid team at Applied, has ported all the fourteen active tasks to Android. The active tasks have been implemented as one of the key functionalities of ResearchDroid.

Active tasks fall into four main categories: motor activities and hand dexterity, fitness, cognition, voice and audio. 


Active Task Workflow


android active tasks
Courtesy: Appbakery Team, TrialX


The most interesting part of the ResearchKit framework is the ability of collecting sensor data from the iOS devices while asking the patient to perform certain tasks. The same can now be done using Android phones. A variety of templates as part of the “active tasks” module help in gathering data.  

The basic workflow of an active task follows simple steps,

  1. Provide information about the task itself and what the patient needs to do.
  2. The patient performs the required task following instructions that appear on the screen.
  3. Record data during the duration of the task.
  4. Data collected can be accessed by researchers for analysis.

A tasks ends with a confirmation screen that informs about the successful completion and about the next steps in the research study. The recorded data are stored as raw data and will not be interpreted by ResearchDroid. 

Active Task on Android

Example: Spatial Memory Test

In the spatial memory task, the user is asked to observe and then recall pattern sequences of increasing length in a game-like environment. The task collects data that can be used to assess visuo-spatial memory and executive function. The span (that is, the length of the pattern sequence) is automatically varied during the task, increasing after successful completion of a sequence, and decreasing after failures, in the range from minimum Span to maximum Span. The game finishes when either maxTests tests have been completed, or the user has made maxConsecutiveFailure errors in a row.

Step 1 – Basic information about the test is displayed and instructions to do the task are given.

Spatial memory testspatial memory

Step 2 – Activity is performed.

Step 3 – Data is recorded.

Step 4 – Data is sent for analysis.

The ResearchDroid provides templates for rapid development of Android based surveys covering not only basic question types but also active tasks by utilizing available sensor data. Data can be entered everywhere and the patient is not required to go to the study center. This makes it very comfortable and in the end comes with less costs for a study. The integration of sensor data via GetHealth API opens the range of applicable trial types to areas, where sensor data was not available at all or where the study center required some additional measurement tools.

New! CareKit on Android


CareKit Android

The team has already started work on porting CareKit components into Android. Stay tuned for updates on the progress.

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