Development and Launch

The benefits of an open source community.

Open source software is free to use and explore, but the most compelling reason to participate is getting the chance to be a part of something bigger.

With open source software, anyone can inspect, modify, or enhance source code that has been made available to the public. With Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit frameworks, your contributions can impact the way we approach healthcare technology today. For the development team at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, this meant changing the way we assess ocular health in app-based clinical trials.

In the process of creating FocalView, an app being tested for patients with eye diseases, the Novartis team created two new vision tests and then contributed these tests to ResearchKit. Now the tests are available in the framework on GitHub to add to any ResearchKit app in development.

Contributed Vision Active Tasks

Visual Acuity - Landolt C - In this test which measures a participant's visual acuity or clarity of vision, a Landolt C stimulus is presented to the user in various sizes and orientations. When the stimulus is presented, the user must align the outer dial with the opening gap in the C and tap next. This task returns the outer dial angle and a calculated score for every attempt.

Contrast Sensitivity - Peak - This task aims to capture measurements of contrast sensitivity or the ability to distinguish differences between an object and its background by presenting the Landolt C stimulus in various contrasts and orientations. When the stimulus is presented, the user must align the outer dial with the opening gap in the C and tap next. This task returns the letter orientation, contrast, and a calculated score for every attempt.

This collaboration with Novartis is a perfect example of what makes open source so powerful and illustrates how contributing back will give us stronger frameworks in the years to come.