Thumbthing Writings by Bob Spryn, and Roderic Campbell, iOS Engineers and founders at Thumbworks

Additional possibilities with a ResearchKit mobile app

In our first post on using ResearchKit in clinical trials, we looked at the main components of ResearchKit, and the benefits of building a mobile app with it. Now we’ll examine additional possibilities made possible by building a clinical trial app.

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Making Clinical Trials Mobile

Mobile devices are revolutionizing every industry, one by one. The taxi industry, retail, even television are all being massively disrupted because that’s what consumers with smartphones are demanding.

In the next five years, smartphone ownership will go from 2B to 4B, and 80% of adults worldwide will have smartphones. The smartphone industry already dwarfs the PC industry - there will be 2-3x more smartphones than PCs in use in 2020. Smartphones have outpaced nearly any comparable technology in the leap to mainstream use.

Introducing ResearchKit

For medical research, it wasn’t a question of if, but when mobile disruption would happen. In April of 2015, Apple gave the medical research industry a big head start by introducing ResearchKit, an open source framework that allows researchers and developers to create powerful apps for medical research.

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WatchConnectivity Basics


One of the most anticipated announcements of WWDC 2015 was the exposure of an SDK to allow 3rd party developers the opportunity to put real software on the newly released Apple Watch. Before WWDC 2015, developers were allowed to put a UI on the watch, with the actual controllers of the app running on the iPhone itself. While this is decent for some cases, clear disadvantages appeared nearly immediately. Apps took time to load because the iPhone app had to wake up, do some things, then send content and state to the watch, at which point the watch could actually display something. An informal poll shows that folks generally didn’t use the apps that they’d installed on their watch because they felt too cumbersome.

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ReactiveCocoa and MVVM, an Introduction


Anyone who has been developing software for a decent length of time is familiar with MVC. It stands for Model View Controller, and is a proven pattern for organizing your code in complex application design. It’s also proven to have a second meaning in iOS development: Massive View Controller. It leaves a lot of developers scratching their heads as to how to keep their code nicely decoupled and organized. As a whole, iOS developers have come to the conclusion they need to slim down their view controllers, and further separate concerns; but how?

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