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Apple Upgrading ResearchKit 2.0 With iOS 12 UI, Speech Recognition Tasks, PDF Viewer, More

Theresa Casimir


After announcing ResearchKit 2.0 last week, during the Developer conference held by Apple. A conference that focused more on software and iOS 12 as the keynote of the event. The company shed more light on what the latest version of the ResearchKit will offer in iOS 12. And the features will include new speech recognition and speech in noise tasks, a new PDF viewer, a refreshed UI, and more.

The ResearchKit team detailed in a blog post, laying emphasis that the first change that many will notice is an overhauled user interface. And  all updates are geared to improve the user experience and make it more effortless. Also added that:

“ResearchKit 2.0 has a whole new look and feel! The UI has been updated across the entire framework to closely reflect the latest iOS style guidelines” and the footers are now sticky to the bottom of all views with filled button styles and the ‘cancel’ and ‘skip’ buttons have relocated under the continue button to allow for easier navigation. Additionally, a new card view enhances the look of forms and surveys.


Most conspicuous is an update to the look of ResearchKit forms, which in prior version 1.5 used the understated and questionably legible small and thin font design originated years ago in iOS 7. The new forms feature will have large iOS 12-style boldface headers, white capsule sections on a gray background, and buttons that automatically attach to the bottom of any sized screen.

In addition to the UI update, Apple has also added a collection of new ResearchKit tasks to help researchers easily collect additional types of information, here’s the full changelog:

PDF viewer: A newly integrated PDF viewer lets users navigate, edit, and share PDF documents

Speech Recognition: This change on the ResearchKit will that asks users to describe an image or repeat a block of text and after completion of the task it will then transcribe the  users’ voice into text and allow editing if necessary.

Speech in Noise: These feature helps that spans speech and hearing health and allows developers and researchers to assess results on participants’ speech reception thresholds by having participants listen to a recording that incorporates in a very noisy background as well as a phrase, and then asking users to repeat phrases back.

dBHL Tone Audiometry: This is another amazing feature, it uses an Hughson Westlake method for determining the hearing threshold level of a user in the dB HL scale. To help facilitate this task an open-sourced calibration data for AirPods is advised.

Environmental SPL Meter: these feature helps developers record users’ current background noise levels during an research session that demands the user’s full attention, it gathers facts about the users background and then set thresholds to ensure users are in the proper environment before completing other tasks.

Amsler Grid: These task provides the users with instructions on how to hold the phone at a certain distance from their face and then provide instructions to close one eye or the other. As users progress from one step to the other, a grid will display for users to view and mark any areas on the grid where they see any sort of distortion.

The company also announced that it will be changing ResearchKit release schedule “to allow for more participation from the community.”Going forward, these will give developers adequate time to learn about new changes, make suggestions, and see requests reflected in official stable releases.

All of these changes will make filling out forms easier, particularly for older iOS users who are most likely to participate in ResearchKit studies.

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