Steven Keating, an MIT doctoral candidate who became famous among his peers for 3D printing a model of his brain tumor, now works for Apple. The mechanical engineer might be working on healthcare solutions with the company.
CNBC reported on Apple’s latest hire last Friday when it learned Keating was listed as an employee of the tech giant at Sage Assembly. The annual conference organized by Sage Bionetworks serves as a stage to share ideas on how to open health research.
Apple has recently been linked with healthcare technology development, particularly blood sugar monitoring sensors to be equipped on the Apple Watch. The company might be taking steps to not only make health data easy to collect, but also easy to share.
Steven Keating has a genuine Apple mindset
It was roughly ten years ago when Steven Keating, as part of a research study, had his brain scanned. The MRI scan revealed a small abnormality in the left frontal lobe of his brain. Nothing to worry about save for regular checkups, doctors said at the time.
Specialists also warned the Ph.D. candidate at MIT that the mass was near the smell center of his brain, a hint that would later save his life. In 2010 he underwent another scan, which again revealed nothing threatening.
Then, in 2014, Keating started sensing an acute vinegar smell every other day, which led him to believe there was something wrong. Indeed, an MRI confirmed the abnormality had grown into a tumor he needed to have removed immediately.
However, Keating went above and beyond to take advantage of this opportunity, collecting every test, result, medical write-up, scan, and raw data. He also had doctors film the 10-hour surgery to remove his tumor, and later he even made a 3D printed model that he shared with friends and family.
His ambition to learn and improve was what made him turn his cancer from a “scary ride” into a “curious problem.” That approach ended up saving his life, and possibly attracting the attention of the iPhone maker.
Apple might plan to open up health data
The mechanical engineer has since become an advocate for open data in the field of healthcare. As a result of his experience, he collected 75 GB of information that included everything from his records to his genetic sequencing results.
From a student profile published by the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT:
“CAN WE HAVE A SIMPLE, STANDARDIZED HEALTH BUTTON AT THE HOSPITAL? WHERE IS THE GOOGLE MAPS, FACEBOOK, OR DROPBOX FOR HEALTH? IT NEEDS TO BE SIMPLE, UNDERSTANDABLE AND EASY, AS SMALL BARRIERS ADD UP QUICKLY.”
Reports suggest Apple might have snatched Steven Keating to work on one of the company’s new health-related ventures due to his passion for the field, but he might have also landed at Cupertino simply for his engineering expertise.